Nigeria: Senate Queries Finance Ministry, Accountant General Over N7.5bn 'Secret Withdrawal'

15 April 2021

Abuja — The Senate has queried the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Account General of the Federation (OAGF) over alleged secret withdrawal of N7.5 billion from the 2% of the National Automotive Council levy account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Senate has also summoned the minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed and the accountant general of the federation (AGF) Ahmed Idris to explain how the withdrawal was made without refund.

N3.8 billion was withdrawn in two installments - N2.8 billion in 2005 and N1 billion in 2006, according to the report of the Auditor-General of the Federation which is being considered by the Senate committee on Public Account, chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide.

The second N3.7 billion, according to the report, was withdrawn between March - December 2000 in three separate transactions of N725 million, N1 billion and N2 billion.

When the committee asked the director general National Automotive Design and Development Council, Jelani Aliyu, about the withdrawal he said the money was withdrawn without the knowledge of the agency.

He said the agency has been writing to the accountant general and Ministry of Finance on the need to refund the money but there was no response.

Displeased by the development, Senate Committee on Public Accounts therefore resolved to summon the minister of finance and accountant general of the federation to give explanation on the fund.

The query reads, "A total sum of N3,836,000,000.00 was irregularly withdrawn from the 2% National Automotive Council Levy Account with

the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja in two installments of N2,800,000,000 (in 2005) and N1,036,000,000.00 (in 2006) by the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Finance as car loan to be granted for the Security Personnel Car Purchase Scheme Loan."

"The transaction was carried out by the Presidency in collaboration with the Bank of Industry, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the

Accountant-General of the Federation without the involvement of NAC, the account owner.

"However the principal and the accrued interest from the fictitious loan have not been paid back nor are records available on the beneficiaries, agreement documents, moratorium, duration of the loan, the yearly interest rates accruable and how the fund will be paid back by the beneficiary.

The director general has been requested to intensify correspondence with the minister of finance, accountant-general of the federation and the presidency to recover the fund.

On the 3.7 billion, the report said the sum was "irregularly withdrawn from the 2% National Automotive Council levy account with the Central Bank of Nigeria between March-December 2000 in 3 separate payments of N725,000,000; N1,000,000,000 and N2,000,000,000 as 'loan', the Accountant General of the Federation internal memo to the Permanent Secretary, Budget Office of the Federation with Ref No: DD/(R&F)22.Vol. 1158 of 27/5/2003 stated.

It was gathered that the said loan and other accumulated interest are yet to be paid since the year 2000.

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