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Senate queries Power Ministry over N478m found in mortgage bank

PIB passes first reading in Senate

The Senate has queried the Ministry of Power after it discovered a bogus deposit of N478m by the ministry in Aso Savings and Loans Plc.

The money was discovered following a 2015 report carried out by the office of the Auditor General for the Federation (AuGF), and was said to be in connection with the Zungeru Power Project.

The report which is currently being scrutinised by the Senate Public Account Committee, stated that the amount was meant for the compensation of persons that would be displaced to pave the way for the project execution.

Part of the money, the report further stated, was for the purpose of securing housing facilities for some staff of the Ministry of Power.

Read also: Nigerian govt kicks off power ministry restructuring

The Chairman of Committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, while treating the report during its ad-hoc sitting on Wednesday, January 6, raised fears that the Ministry might have difficulty in retrieving the fund if the report by the AuGF is anything to go by.

“The examination of various bank statements belonging to the Ministry of Power revealed that the sum of N2bn was deposited into Aso Savings and Loans Account since December 2013,” the AuGF report stated.

“The Ministry should provide the backing documents to enable the office of the AuGF to carry out proper audit checks on the operation of this account, particularly, the interest accrued on the deposit.”

The Ministry of Power, in a written response, however, said that the money was deposited in the Aso Savings and Loans Plc under the Zungeru Power Project.

The Ministry added that it wrote the Accountant General of the Federation via a letter dated 20th December, 2012, for the approval and got a response from the AuGF on January 14, 2013, giving the approval to open the account.

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