- Reps Probe Alleged Payment of N19b to State Governments Account
The House of Representatives is set to probe an alleged payment of N19 billion by the Ministry of Finance to the account of the 36 states rather than that of the 774 local governments.
The resolve was precipitated by a petition by a legal firm, Edwards and Partners to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, claiming that the N19 billion was the legal fee on the money recovered from the Paris Club.
The Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, confirmed the development and said the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele would be summoned tomorrow to explain their role in the lodgment of the money.
The petition by the law firm said it was retained by the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), to assist, manage and coordinate with other professionals, the recovery of approximately $3.189billion of Paris Club related deductions from amounts standing to the credit of the 774 local governments of Nigeria in the federation account by the Federal Government.
The petition added: “Our brief was successfully concluded with judgment and garnishe order Absolute secured for ALGON and the consultant for its fees in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS//130/13 while we got our judgment and garnishe order for our legal fees in suit number FCT/HC/CV/1545/2015.
The firm stressed that despite notifying the Ministry of Finance and CBN of the order of court, both the ministry and the apex bank still went ahead to make several disbursements to state governments directly without the mandated first line deduction at source.
They also stated in the petition that “the minister of finance further directed the CBN to pay our legal fees to the Governors Forum, an entity unknown to us in the course of the entire transaction and her directive were dully effected by the CBN.
Members of the House also at the plenary resolved to summon the CBN and Finance Ministry over their alleged non-compliance with the presidential directive on recapitalization of the Bank of Agriculture (BoA).
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Femi Fakeye, who stressed the need to fully subscribe to the share capital of BoA for optimal contribution to Nigeria’s ailing economy.
The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee yesterday threatened to bar Conoil Plc from lifting petroleum products over its inability to pay up outstanding debt of N3.182 billion to the Petroleum Product Marketing Company (PPMC).
The Abdullahi Mahmoud Gaya-led committee probing the alleged debt of over N500 billion and sabotage by oil marketers in connivance with the PPMC, made the threat after it discovered that Conoil had been in default of the 15-day allowable credit circle without paying interest, even as it continued to lift oil products.
However, the Financial Controller of Conoil, Abdulateef Ijaiya, stated that the debt position of the company with government as at December 31 was N3. 3 billion, out of which N2.5billion is due to PPMC.