Transparency and Integrity

8/11/2020

N7bn Spending : Ministry Of Power, Reps Quarrel Over Nọn Appropriation


The Federal House of Representatives has questioned the Federal Ministry of Power over spending of N7bn without Appropriation on the Kashimbila power project.

The House Committee on Public Accounts has also asked the ministry to explain the N2bn deposited in a commercial bank by the ministry in 2013 without any record provided to the office of the General.

Yet another issue that attracted a query is, the allegation that the Ministry deposited government money in commercial banks in 2015.

Esther Wilson Jack

According to a report from Punchng, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Esther Wilson-Jack, while responding to an audit query issued by the Auditor General of the Federation, informed the committee that the N7bn was meant for the Kashimbila Hydropower Project and was given to the ministry as special intervention. She stressed that the money was kept in four commercial banks in 2015.

Wilson-Jack's response pointed out that the money was not part of the ministry’s budget for 2015, but was a special intervention fund released to it by the Federal Government with the approval of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) to deposit the money in commercial banks.
She said,

Shortly after the introduction of the Treasury Single Account, the money was moved from the commercial banks to the TSA account of the ministry.

Adewunmi Omotayo the Director of Finance, further giving clarification on the issue said that the money was spent on what it was meant for.

The Lawmakers however not being satisfied requested for details of the project to enable them know how the money was spent.

Chairman of the committee, Wole Oke, argued that the expenditure by the ministry was extra-budgetary, demanding the budget of the ministry for 2015.

The committee also summoned the management of Aso Savings and Loans Limited over the N2bn deposited with them by the Federal Ministry of Power since 2013, which the ministry said was meant for staff housing scheme.


Wilson-Jack had told the committee that the ministry was making efforts to recover the money from the bank.

She said the ministry had already reported Aso Savings to the Central Bank of Nigeria over alleged violation of banking regulations.

Oke directed the clerk to the committee to invite the CBN to come and shed more light on the issue.

Aso Savings is to appear before the lawmakers to explain the whereabouts of the money and the accrued interest.

Dr. Maurice Nnamdi Mbaeri
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Police Affairs, Nnamdi Mbaeri, also speaking revealed that N110.151m, for which the Auditor-General issued a query, could not be mopped up and transferred to the TSA as it was not available for mop-up.

The Auditor General of the Federation had sought a refund of about N30m it considered an unbudgeted spending by the ministry on the World Energy Summit, which took place in 2015.

Wilson-Jack, has however, maintained that there was no extra-budgetary spending  whatsoever recorded on the summit.

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