The Senate through its Committee on Public Accounts, has summoned the Minister of Finance, Ahmed Zainab and Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over alleged secret withdrawal of N7.5 billion from the 2 percent National Automotive Council Levy Account domiciled with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The summon was sequel to allegation made to that effect by the Office of Auditor General of the Federation in an Audit report submitted to the Senate Commitee on Public Accounts.
The secret withdrawals as alleged in the report and read by the Chairman of the Committee , Senator Mathew Urhoghide ( PDP Edo South ) during its sitting on Wednesday, were done separately between year 2000 and 2006 .
One of such withdrawals the report said, was withdrawn between March – December 2000 in three separate payments of N725 million, N1 billion and N2 billion.
Other withdrawals made as stated in the report was N3.8 billion withdrawn in two installments of N2.8 billion in 2005 and N1 billion in 2006.
The query reads, “A total sum of N3,836,000,000.00 (Three billion, eight hundred and thirty-six million naira) was irregularly withdrawn from the 2% National Automotive Council Levy Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja in two installments of N2,800,000,000billion in 2005 and N1,036,000,000.00billion in 2006 by the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Finance as loans to be granted for the Security Personnel Car Purchase Scheme.
“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 Honourable Minister of Finance, Accountant-General of the Federation and the Presidency to recover the fund (‘loan’).”
On the 3.7 billion, the report said the sum was “irregularly withdrawn from the 2% National Automotive Council Levy Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria between March-December 2000 in three separate payments of N725,000,000; N1,000,000,000 and N2,000,000,000 as ‘loan’ to NAFCON vide the Accountant General of the Federation internal memo to the Permanent Secretary, Budget Office of the Federation Ref No: DD/(R&F)22.Vol. 1158 of 27/5/2003.
“The ‘Loan’ Principal and the accumulated interest are yet to be paid since the year 2000.”
When the Committee asked the Director General of National Automotive Design and Development Council, Jelani Aliyah, about the withdrawals, 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.
Angered by the development, the cmmittee consequently resolved to summon the Minister of Finance and Accountant General of the Federation to give explanations on the fund.