Delta State Govt Counters Accountant General, Denies Receiving £4.2m Ibori Loot

 

The Delta State Government has denied receiving £4.2 million looted by its former governor, James Ibori. 

The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris on Tuesday while appearing before the Senate committee investigating the status of recovered loot noted that the fund has been returned to the state.

However, the Chief Press Secretary to the state government, Olisa Ifejika, on Wednesday countered the Accountant General’s claim, insisting the oil-rich state is yet to receive the money.

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“We appreciate the efforts of the Federal Government to return the recovered loot to Delta State where it rightly belongs. But the truth is that the money has not hit the Delta State government’s account.

“We saw it yesterday like every other Nigerian when the Accountant General of the Federation Ahmed Idris while appearing before the House of Reps committee on recovered loot made that statement and there was this avalanche of enquires to know whether that money has come to us and the truth is that the money has not come.

“We are happy that they have shown willingness to return send the money and we know that very soon, the money will come,” Ifejika said while addressing journalists at the Government House in Asaba, the state capital.

He assured that the Delta State government will ensure that the funds are judiciously utilised to improve infrastructure across the state, once received.

The loot – £4.2 million – was seized from the associates of convicted former Governor of Delta State, Ibori by the United Kingdom and recently returned to Nigeria.

 

Where Is The Loot?

The recovered loot was recently received by the Federal Government from the United Kingdom.

Mr Idris while appearing before the committee investigating the status of recovered loot stated that “all recovered funds that belong to the respective states are paid directly to the states.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria Receives £4.2m Ibori Loot

When asked specifically if the Ibori loot was returned to Delta State, he responded that: “It was paid to the state, it was paid to Delta State. Any recovery that is arising from any state, goes to that state. State governors will not even allow it to fly, they will take the federal government to court. We pay them their money.”

 

Contradiction

The Accountant General’s response contradicts the earlier position of the Federal government on the recovered loot.

Earlier in March, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami had said the Ibori loot would be used for the construction of the second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano road, and Lagos-Ibadan Express road and not returned to the Delta State Government where it was pilfered from.

Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, made an appearance on Channels Television on June 30, 2020.
File photo of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, during an appearance on Channels Television on June 30, 2020.

 

During his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today, he argued that the law that was alleged to have been breached by Ibori was a federal law and that the parties of interests involved in the repatriation of the funds were national and not sub-national governments.

“The major consideration relating to who is entitled to a fraction or perhaps the money in its entirety is a function of law and international diplomacy,” Mr. Malami said.

Fayose Fears For Safety Of Arrested Finance Commissioner, Accountant General

The Ekiti State governor Mr Ayodele Fayose says he is afraid that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will not treat his detained officials with civility and decorum.

The governor is reacting to the arrest of his Commissioner of Finance and the State Accountant General who were arrested by the anti-graft agency over allegations of misuse of bail-out funds.

The agency had told Channels Television that the officials were arrested because they had failed to honour previous invitations to answer questions on the matter.

READ ALSO: Fayose Condemns Arrest Of Ekiti Finance Commissioner, Accountant General

Fayose in his reaction says the latest action by the EFCC is “premeditated, malicious, ill- and politically-motivated, contemptuous of the court, and is unconstitutional in all its ramifications.

The governor in a statement on Friday said that the EFCC has failed and or neglected to appeal or vacate this order; neither is there any report of indictment from the Ekiti State House of Assembly to warrant the EFCC’s action

The governor has earlier on Channels TV programme, Politics Today condemned the anti-graft agency’s action and wondered why they were arrested the same day he declared his ambition to contest the 2019 presidential election.

Buhari Behind My Continued Detention, Dasuki Tells Court

dasukiFormer National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of being behind his arrest and detention without trial since December 29, 2015.

Dasuki, who spoke through his counsel, Mr Joseph Daudu, claimed that President Buhari unjustly instigated his arrest and detention by the Department of State Security (DSS) against the bail granted him by three different courts in various criminal charges brought against him by the federal government.

He claimed that the President, through his comments on the presidential media chat in January 2016, confirmed that he was behind his ordeal.

In a further and better affidavit filed in support of his application at the FCT high court, the ex-NSA claimed that the President betrayed his emotion during the presidential media chat when he openly told Nigerians that he and Nnamdi Kanu would not be allowed on bail because they would jump bail.

Dasuki claimed he had been held incommunicado since his re-arrest on December 29 when he perfected the third bail granted him by Justice Peter Affen.

He, therefore, asked Justice Affen to prohibit his further trial until the federal government allows him on bail so as to prepare effectively for defence in the various criminal charges brought against him by government.

The former NSA who has been in detention since December 29, 2015, claimed that the detention has prevented him from filing effective defence because he has no access to his lawyers.

Daudu also stated that the claim that Dasuki was being held by the DSS and not the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) cannot hold water because the federal government is the complainant in the charge against Dasuki and that both the DSS and EFCC are agents of the federal government.

In opposing the application, counsel to the federal government, Mr Rotimi Jacob informed Justice Affen that the charge against Dasuki was at the instance of the EFCC and not the DSS.

He denied that the federal government disobeyed the court on the ground that on December 29, 2015 when the bail conditions were perfected, Dasuki was released by the prison authority at Kuje but was however rearrested by another government agency.

Jacobs asked the court not to grant Dasuki’s application because DSS that rearrested him was not a party to the charges against him before Justice Affen who granted him the bail.

After listening to the parties, Justice Affen fixed March 4, 2016 to give ruling on the application.

Dasukigate: Ex-PDP Chairman’s Son Collected 300mln Naira – Witness

Haliru MohammedA witness and an official of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency told a court on Wednesday that 300 million Naira out of the arms deal money was paid into the account of the son of a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Bello Abba Mohammed.

Mr Abba Mohammed is being prosecuted alongside his father, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, before Justice A.R. Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a 4-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC’s first witness, Mrs Rouqayya Ibrahim, who is an operative of the anti-graft agency, being led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, said that the payment of 300 million Naira was made in two tranches to the accused person’s company account – BAM Projects and Properties Limited.

She said that the funds were meant for the procurement of arms through the office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd).

A statement by the spokesperson for the EFCC on Wednesday said Mrs Ibrahim stated that the accused persons, through the firm, withdrew the money from an account of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Discoveries We Made”

The fund was said to have been transferred to the accused persons by the embattled former National Security Adviser, 11 days to the 2015 presidential election.

Mrs Ibrahim told the court that she was attached to the Forensic Accounting unit of the Commission as an analyst.

She stated that, her schedule of duties include general investigations, interview of suspects and complainants, analysis of documents, arrests where necessary, executing search warrants among others.

Mrs Ibrahim further told the court that a Special Task Force was created sometime in October/November 2014 to investigate defence arms contracts and alleged financial misappropriation of funds in the ONSA.

The witness stated that relevant government agencies including banks, staff of the Accountant-General’s Office and that of the ONSA and the CBN were contacted to furnish the Commission with necessary information about the case.

“One of the discoveries we made after receiving relevant documents from the Accountant-General’s Office was a letter written by the Ministry of Finance to the CBN requesting for 100 billion Naira on March 2, 2015. The sum was for several expenditures for several agencies but specifically, 30 billion Naira of the 100 billion Naira was for the ONSA for security issues.

“On March 6, 2015, the AGF wrote to the CBN authorising the release of 30 billion Naira which was paid into ONSA account with CBN on March 11, 2015.

“On March 17, 2015, 300 million Naira out of the 30 billion Naira paid into the ONSA account, was paid into BAM Projects and Properties Limited account in Sterling Bank with the narration on the mandate for the payment being Payment for safe houses,” the witness told the court.

Consequent upon that discovery, Mrs Ibrahim stated that her team requested for the statement of account of BAM Projects and Properties Limited from Sterling Bank.

The analysis, according to her, showed that a payment of 300 million Naira was made on February 27, 2015 in two tranches of 150 million Naira each to BAM Projects and Properties account with Sterling Bank from Jabbama Ada Global Services Limited.

The witness further told the court that the first defendant initially denied knowledge of the 300 million Naira paid into his account, but later admitted after he spoke with his father (the third defendant) who was away at the time.

“The first defendant was confronted with the disbursement of the funds from his account and he confessed that the disbursements were made on the instruction of his father for the purpose of elections,” Mrs Ibrahim stated.

Documents in support of the claim were tendered by Jacobs. Though objected to by the defence counsel, Umoh, his objection was overruled and the documents were admitted in evidence as exhibits.

Thereafter, Justice Mohammed adjourned the case to Tuesday, February 23, 2016 for continuation.

In the said suit, Mohammed’s son (Bello Abba Mohammed) was charged as the first accused person while the firm, BAM Projects and Properties Limited, which was used to perpetrate the fraud and the former PDP Chairman was cited as the second and third accused persons respectively.

Buhari Meets More Permanent Secretaries

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari continued his interaction with permanent secretaries by taking a look at the books of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Abdullahi Yola.

Briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, Yola said his ministry was ready to prosecute any person indicted by relevant agencies of government for looting public fund.

He said that the prosecution could only be done when agencies have found the individuals wanting and make their findings available to his ministry.

Also in the State House to brief the President were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, as well as that of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Abdulkadir Musa, who also told State House correspondents that his briefing with the President centred on job creation.

Musa said that in the days ahead, the current administration would be doing everything possible to attract more investments and encourage businesses.

Ahead of the appointment of ministers, President Buhari has been receiving briefings about happenings in the various ministries to get a first-hand information.

President Muhammadu Buhari continues to push further his concern about the prudent management of Nigeria’s finances, with a call on the Permanent Secretaries of various ministries to be prudent in the management of resources.

He had on Monday received the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mrs Anesthesia Nwobia, who told reporters that her ministry was working assiduously to ensure that all revenue leakages were blocked, as instructed by the President.

Buhari Tasks Permanent Secretaries On Prudent Management

Oil and GasPresident Muhammadu Buhari is pushing further his concern about the prudent management of Nigeria’s finances, with a call on the Permanent Secretaries of various ministries to be prudent in the management of resources.

Ahead of the appointment of ministers, President Buhari has been receiving briefings about happenings in the various ministries to get a first-hand information.

On the saddle on Monday is the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mrs Anesthesia Nwobia, who told reporters that her ministry was working assiduously to ensure that all revenue leakages were blocked, as instructed by the President.

According to her, the government is a continuum and so the work in the ministry of finance will not stop because there is no minister.

She said though the price of oil had dropped and had reduced the revenue stream to the government, her ministry was working out other avenues to generate revenue to ensure that the government would not go down.

She described as ‘unfair’ reports that large scale looting may be going on in the ministry, as there were no ministers yet.

She said: “Permanent Secretaries are the engine room of the civil service and will continue to do their work”.

On his part the new Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, said the Permanent Secretaries had no option than to adhere to the President’s directive that prudent measures should be adopted in the management of the nation’s resources.

According to the Accountant General, about $1.7 billion would be shared to the states from the excess crude Account.

Gov. Ambode Dissolves Boards Of Parastatals And Agencies

In ambodea bid to restructure his administration, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has approved the dissolution of all boards of parastatals and agencies of government in the state.

The dissolution takes immediate effect.

In a statement released by his Chief Press Secretary, Governor Ambode, stated that the Civil Service Commission, the Judicial Service Commission and the State Independent Electoral Commission are exempted.

The Governor commended the modest contributions of the members of the dissolved boards, just as he wished them well in their future endeavours.

Meanwhile, the Governor has approved the appointment of Mrs. Abimbola Shukrat Umar as the new Accountant-General of the state and Permanent Secretary in the State Treasury Office.

Prior to her new appointment, Mrs. Umar was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Lagos: Fashola appoints Sunmoni as new Accountant-General

The Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola

The Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola has approved the appointment of David Olabanji Adewale Sunmoni as the new Accountant -General of the State.

Mr Sunmoni’s appointment takes effect from 31 August 2012 when the appointment of the former Accountant General, Akin Ambode lapsed.

The new Accountant General, who was born on 16 of January 1959, has served as the State Auditor -General from 2010 until his new appointment.

A Master Degree holder in Business Administration (MBA) from the Lagos State University, Mr Sunmoni is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA) and Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (FCCA) as well as an Associate of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN).

Among the institutions he attended are London School of Accountancy, London, Methodist High School, Lagos and Oriwu College, Ikorodu.

Since he joined the State Public service, he has served in various capacities including Assistant Director, Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) Pensions from 2002 to 2006, Lagos State Treasury Office as deputy director treasury operations from 2006 to 2009, and Ministry of Waterfront as director of accounts from 2009 to 2010.

He has also worked with different organizations like A.G. Leventis Nigeria Plc, Pfizer Products Plc, Beta Glass Plc and Livestock Feeds Plc in different capacities like Senior Accountant, Financial and Management Accountant, Group Financial Controller and Company Secretary.

Mr Sunmoni has attended several professional courses and training programmes both locally and internationally.

The new Accountant General belongs to the Oriwu Club in Ikorodu and Lagos Country Club and is married with children.

Oil revenues fall on production outages

Nigeria earned gross crude oil revenues of N666.32 billion in January, down from N892.70 billion in December owing to production outages, the accountant general said on Wednesday.

Nigeria distributed N614.0 billion to the three tiers of government in January, compared with N611.08 billion in December, Jonah Otunla announced on Wednesday after a meeting of the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee.

In order to keep distributions steady when crude oil revenues dip, government has to top up using crude oil savings, which have reduced sharply in recent years despite a record high period for oil prices.

“This (revenue decrease) was due to a drop in crude oil lifting as a result of production shut down at Bonga Terminal, drop in production at Qua Iboe Terminal and also the downward review of estimates by oil producing companies,” Mr Otunla said in a statement.

Addressing journalists after the meeting of the committee, the Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama says that the Federal Government got a total of N260 billion while the thirty six states are to share the sum of N131 billion .The local governments Councils will share a total of N101billion.

Reacting to the funds owed the Federations account by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the minister said that so far, a total of N46 billion has been refunded to its account.