Senate panel quizzes AG over lawyer paid $4m as consultancy fee for ECA

The Senate yesterday quizzed the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Idris Ahmed, over the identity of a lawyer who collected $4 million as payment for the professional fees for the management of Excess Crude Account (ECA).

Chairman of Senate Committee on Finance, Adeola Olamilekan, who demanded the identity of the lawyer during an interactive session with the AGF, said that the committee would want him to furnish members with the identity of the lawyer who collected $4 million from excess crude as consultancy fee.

Ahmed had earlier furnished the committee on how the $325 million in ECA was depleted to $71.8 million.

He said that the balance in the account as of January 2020 was $325 million, from which the National Economic Council (NEC) agreed to invest $250 million into Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and $4 million was paid as a professional fee to an unknown lawyer.

He said that the ECA is an escrow account set-up by the Federal Government and into which the difference between the benchmark price of crude oil approved by the National Assembly and the actual sales price thereof in the world market is paid.

Ahmed also told the lawmakers that the Federal Government is yet to release single kobo for the capital projects in 2020.

The Federal Government in the 2020 budget signed by President Muhammadu Buhari proposed N2.465 trillion for capital expenditure.

He, however, said that from the Federal Government’s proposed N2.465 trillion for capital expenditure, N493 billion had been released for personnel cost, N59.77 billion for consolidated pension, N46.6 billion for overhead cost and only N20.76 billion for capital supplementation.

But when the committee probed further, he said that N340 billion would be released in the first quarter, which will be first tranche for the capital budget.

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