Politics

Reps invite Iweala, CBN gov to explain role in Maina’s alleged N2bn pension fund scam

Reps invite Iweala, CBN gov to explain role in Maina’s alleged N2bn pension fund scam

Former minister of Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele, have been summoned by the House of Representatives to appear before it to explain their involvement in the alleged misappropriation of N2 billion pension funds.

The House ad-hoc committee gave the summon on Tuesday following the argument that the former pension boss, the fugitive Abdulrasheed Maina, should not be the only person held accountable for the supposed fraud, but all those who participated in the then Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform, during which time the alleged missing N2 billion was squandered.

Summoned along Iweala and Emefiele is a former Accountant-General of the Federation, Jonah Otunla. The trio were asked to appear before the committee on Monday to explain their involvement in the alleged misappropriation of the pension funds.

The committee had argued that since the idea of the pension team was constituted to track stolen public funds that it ought to have been regulated by the principle of collective responsibility.

According to the chairman of the committee, Anayo Nnebe, it would be improper for the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) to claim that there was no recoveries made in the period under review and asked them to come with comprehensive reports of recoveries so far made.

The investigation was meant to cover the periods from 2010 to 2013 and activities of the other successor agencies.

Meanwhile, the House of Reps on Tuesday resolved to probe the alleged loss of two billion naira and 3.8 million dollars through banks’ non-payment of interests on the proceeds of the sale of PHCN successor companies.

This development was sequel to a motion moved by Chukwuka Onyema, which was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers at a plenary on Tuesday presided over by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.

Onyema had in his motion said that the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 unbundled the Power Holding Company of Nigeria into 18 successor companies of six generation companies, and 12 distribution companies covering the 36 states of the federation as well as National Power Transmission Company.

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He added that due to the divestiture of Federal Government from PHCN through privatisation, that the company was divided into separate companies known as the Local Electricity Distribution Companies.

According to him, the successor companies made payment to the Federal Government through Standard Chartered Bank, Fidelity Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Access Bank, FCMB, Skye Bank, Sterling Bank, Zenith Bank and Unity Bank.

“The accrued interests due to the Federal Government to the tune of two billion naira and 3.8 million dollars were alleged to have been diverted by those banks in collaboration with officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” he said.

In its resolution, the House decided to set up an ad hoc committee to carry out the probe which is to report back to the house within six weeks for further legislative action.

 

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