Alleged diversion of N2.5bn PHCN funds: Senate queries BPE

The Committee on Public Account, Monday, condemned the alleged  diversion of N2.5bn by officials of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

The BPE, according to the 2015 report of the retiring Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine, diverted the money from the proceeds of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria to buy properties through Aso Savings  and loans. 

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Urhogbide (PDP South),  while scrutinising the report, expressed anger over the diversion of N2.5bn.

He therefore, asked the representative of the Director General of BPE, Ignatius Ayewoh, is the Director of Finance and General Services to explain reasons for the agency’s actions.

Urhoghide asked Ayewoh to explain details of the person that authorised the diversion of the N2.5bn to Aso Savings and Loans.

Ayewoh said the BPE did not obtain any approval from Debt Office.

He said, “We did not have approval from DMO to pay N2.5bn from proceed of PHCN to Aso Savings and Loans.” 

The Chairman accused the representative of BPE of colluding with the Aso Savings and Loans to carry out the transaction.

He demanded for the list of staff benefited from the properties acquired from the Aso Savings and Loans.

He said the document must be submitted to the Committee on Wednesday even as he described the transaction as illegal. 

Urhogbide said the Committee would ask the to recover the money from the Aso Savings and Loans. 

He said, “We are going to ask to recover its which you threw away to Aso Savings and Loans.”

Meanwhile, the BPE had in a written submission to the Committee caimed that it had the approval of the Accountant General of the Federation to establish a with Aso Savings and Loans.

The BPE response reads, “This was a loan guarantee,  but a placement at 5 per cent rate.  It was used to negotiate a single digit rate to finance the bureau’s staff Housing scheme. 

“There is an approval from the office of Accountant General of the Federation authorising the Bureau to establish a with the organisation.

“Aso Savings and Loans has since September 2015 not be able to implement the directive by BPE to remit deposit to TSA. 

“A committee chaired by Vice President (Yemi Osinbajo), is currently trying to resolve the issue with Aso savings and Loans PLC and about 16 MDAs are affected. 

“Aso Savings and Loans Plc has offered the BPE some buildings and plots repayment of N70m monthly to defray the deposit with accrued .”

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