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Exposed! FG reveals how Okonjo-Iweala spent $2.1bn without approval

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okonjo iweala



The National Economic Council, chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday accused a former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy under ex-President
Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, of
spending $2.1bn from the Excess Crude Account
without authorisation.
“We looked at the numbers for the Excess Crude
Account. The last time the former Minister of
Finance and Coordinating Minister of the
Economy, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, reported to
the council, and it is in the minutes, she reported
by November 2014 that we had $4.1 bn.
“Today, the Accountant-General Office reported
we have $2.0bn. Which means the honourable
minister spent $2.1bn without authority of the
NEC and that money was not distributed to
states, it was not paid to the three tiers of
government,” Edo State Governor Adams
Oshiomhole told State House correspondents
after the NEC’s 58th meeting in Abuja.
The ‘unauthorised’ spending, according to the
economic council, is among the several
anomalies discovered in the management of the
nation’s economy between 2012 and May 2015.
Within the period, the Nigerian National
Petroleum Corporation was said to have earned
a total of N8.1 tn but remitted only N4.3tn.
Consequently, the Federal Government has
constituted Oshiomhole, Kaduna State Governor,
Nasir el-Rufai; Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom
Emmanuel; and Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim
Dankwambo, into a panel to probe the NNPC and
the ECA between 2012 and May, 2015.
Oshiomhole, el-Rufai, Emmanuel and the
Zamfara State Governor, Abdulazeez Yari, jointly
briefed journalists at the end of the meeting.
Yari told the journalists, through the Director of
Funds, Office of the Accountant-General of the
Federation, Mr. M.K. Dikwa, that council
members received the report of the ECA and
unremitted funds by the NNPC.
He said, “On that line, a four-man committee
consisting of the governors of Edo, Gombe,
Kaduna and Akwa Ibom states was constituted
to go through the books of the NNPC and
Excess Crude as well as the Federation Account.
”The four-man committee will check the books of
the NNPC, most especially the issue of excess
crude and what is not remitted into the
Federation Account.
“The Federal Government, in conjunction with the
Central Bank of Nigeria, will look inwards to see
how to support and how much they will give to
states, especially on the issue of outstanding
salaries owed by the states and even the Federal
Government.”
Shedding new light on what transpired at the
NEC meeting, Oshiomhole said the NNPC and the
Office of the Accountant-General of the
Federation were compelled for the first time to
provide information on the total sales of
Nigeria’s crude from 2012 to May 2015.
The Edo governor said, “We are talking about
transparency; we are talking about change. And
what we saw from those numbers, which I
believe that Nigerians are entitled to know, is
that whereas the NNPC claimed to have earned
N8.1tn, what NNPC paid into the Federation
Account from 2012 to May 2015 was N4.3tn.
“What it means is that the NNPC withheld and
spent N3.8 tn.
“The major revelation here is that the entire
federation, that is the Federal Government, the
states and all the 774 local governments, the
amount the NNPC paid into the Federation
Account for distribution to these three tiers of
government came to N4.3 tn and the NNPC
alone took and spent N3.8tn.
“This means that the cost of running the NNPC
is much more than the cost of running the
Federal Government. That tells you how much is
missing, what is mismanaged and what is
stolen. There are huge figures.”
Oshiomhole said the only lawful way decreed by
the Constitution was that if the NNPC needed to
spend money, it needed to prepare its budget like
every other business enterprise, get it scrutinised
by the executive and then forward same to the
National Assembly for appropriation.
He added, “If the Federal Government cannot
spend without appropriation, why should any
agency spend without appropriation.
“This is what the Constitution provided for and
this is what President Muhammadu Buhari has
promised to do; henceforth all money must go to
the Federation Account.
“If you were doing that, you would not have a
situation where the NNPC alone will spend
N3.8trn and remit to the federal, states and local
governments N4.3trn, which means NNPC is
taking about 47 per cent and that explains all
the leakages you are talking about.”
El-Rufai recalled that he was part of the decision
to put in place the ECA during the tenure of
former President Olusegun Obasanjo between
2004 and 2005 as an administrative arrangement
to save for a rainy day.
He said the account was set up in order to be
accountable such that every state and local
government would know what they had in the
account though they could not spend it.
He said, “The Excess Crude Account is 52 per
cent owned by the Federal Government and 48
per cent owned by the states and the local
governments.
“So the decision of the NEC is to set up this
committee of four to look at the operations of
the Excess Crude Account and make
recommendations to council on its future.
“The other thing the committee will do is to look
at the operations of the Federation Account,
particularly the shortfall and again come back to
council with very clear recommendations as to
what to do.
“We have not been given a time frame but as
you can imagine state governments are under
pressure, many of our state governments are
unable to pay salaries on time without recourse
to borrowing, so this is very important to us.
“This is an all-governors’ committee; we wear the
shoes and we know where they pinch. So we are
going to do this as quickly as possible.
“The next meeting of the council is on July 23;
we hope to complete our work and be in a
position to report to council on that day. So
within the next one month, we will be done by
God’s grace.”

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Credit: PuncgNG

About Adeyinka Hassan

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