House Summons Finance Minister Over $36.1m World Bank Loan
The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, over a $36.1m facility under the Fiscal Governance and Institutions Project of the World Bank, part of which was allocated to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
The House Committee on Public Accounts had last week summoned the acting Auditor General of the Federation, Mr Aghughu Adolphus, over the fund.
Adolphus, who had earlier been invited by the committee, had failed to show up last week. His representatives led by a Deputy Director, Mr Babalola Olanrewaju, could not explain to the lawmakers the rationale behind taking the loan.
Adolphus, however, appeared before the committee on Tuesday.
The committee also wants Ahmed to explain a $1.5m grant by the World Bank to some Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government.
The committee, at its investigative hearing in Abuja, decried the inability of the Office of the AUGF to access the $36.1m loan and the $1.5m grant since three years.
Meanwhile, the committee also summoned the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over the financial statements of the country based on some queries issued by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
Also on Tuesday, the committee commenced investigation of the payments of over N149.21bn on crude oil lifting pre-shipment contracts by Federal Government from 2011 to date.
The probe is into the implementation of Nigerian Exports Supervision Scheme as well as the payment of Pre-Shipment Inspection Agents and Crude Oil/Non-Oil Monitoring and Evaluation Agents.
Chairman of the committee, Wole Oke, expressed concern over the allegation of hijacking the statutory functions of Department of Petroleum Resources by the contractors.
Oke disclosed that the Central Bank of Nigeria, in its report to the committee, exonerated itself from the processes leading to the award of pre-shipment contracts.
He also said the substantive contract agreement with the contractors expired since June 2015, while other documents presented by the contractors merely showed extension.
Oke stated that the committee had resolved to stamp out illegal contracting policy.
He said, “Going by Ministry of Finance’ documents, over N194bn has been paid out by the ministry on a scheme that is illegal and without appropriation.”
In their responses, representatives of the pre-shipment companies who affirmed that the payments were made from the NESS fees paid by the oil companies, stated that there were no budgetary provisions for the payments in the country’s annual budget.