Reps uncover another ‘missing’ $202m from NIA
• Move to boost funding of navy
• N’Assembly scrutinises N1.6b hajj commission vote
Another $202 million belonging to the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) could be missing as the House of Representatives claims the amount is yet to be accounted for.According to the House Committee on Public Safety and National Intelligence probing into NIA’s missing funds, the $202 million was released to the NIA as an intervention fund in the twilight of the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan-led administration.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Aminu Sani Jaji, who briefed reporters after members of his panel held a closed-door session with both the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd) and the newly appointed Director General of the NIA, Ahmed Abubakar, said contrary to a widely held notion, the $44 million found in the NIA’s vault was not missing.
Jaji, who maintained that the entire $289 million released to the NIA was not appropriated by the National Assembly, said investigations revealed that the funds must have been safely kept in an undisclosed location, pending the resolution of the issues surrounding the agency.“This $44 million is part of the $289 million approved to the then DG, Ayodele Oke. In April last year, there was the issue of $43 million found in Ikoyi. He tried to say that the $44 million and the $43 million were part of the $289 million.
“But for us, we are still working to see where the remaining $202 million was placed. We only know about the $43 million recovered in Ikoyi and the $44 million recovered from their vault. In the course of our investigation, we’ll come up with where the $289 million really is, not only the $43 million and not the $44 million.
“NIA got the money in the name of intervention. But since they said it was an intervention, maybe for whatever reason, Oke failed to disclose the amount to the present administration. Even the NSA was saying it was when this committee started working that he got to know that NIA was given $289 million.
“For me, $202 million is still missing. The money in question is $289m, and all what the former DG is trying to say is that the $43 million and the $44 million are part of the $289 million. If you subtract $43 million and $44 million, where is the balance? That’s why we have to intensify the investigation,” Jaji said.
On the committee’s findings on the eligibility of Abubakar to become the DG of the agency, Jaji said his appointment was in line with due process.“We tried to find out from the DG and some staff working in the agency, and there was no protest. For me, it’s just something anonymous.
“The circumstances surrounding his appointment were discussed. Some are saying he has dual citizenship, but he said to us categorically that his father was from Katsina and he (his father) after sometime decided to migrate from Katsina to Chad. His mother is a Nigerian, and his wife too is a Nigerian,” the lawmaker said.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly has announced putting the N1.5 billion 2018 budget for the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) under serious scrutiny.The joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives which is processing the commission’s budget said although the agency did well in the implementation of the 2017 budget, there were issues in the 2018 fiscal plan that required a thorough scrutiny before approval is given.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu, noted that the decision to scrutinise the commission’s budget was in line with the directive from the National Assembly’s leadership to block all economic leakages.
NAHCOM had presented to the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs its 2018 appropriation proposal of N1,559,818,216.The Executive Chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Abdullahi Mukhtar, put the total recurrent expenditure comprising personnel cost and overhead cost at N962, 073,096. The personnel cost is N344, 728,181 while the overhead is N617, 344,915.
Mukhtar noted that for 2017, the appropriation was N1, 571,990,682.20 with 58 percent performance. He said the personnel cost for 2017 was N344, 728,181 while the overhead was N629, 517,381.20.Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, in a bid to ensure the safety of the nation’s waterways, has passed a bill aimed at enhancing the funding of the Nigerian Navy (NN).
The legislation is specifically an amendment to the Act establishing a maritime operations coordinating board to allow the navy access one per cent of the maritime fund, to better address its challenges.
The bill yet to be assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari stipulates that the board is to be reconstituted to include the NN as a member. The Chairman of the House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Mr. Mohammed Umar Bago, explained that the navy would be able to enhance its capacity to better police the maritime environment and protect the nation’s territorial integrity with the passage of the legislation.
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