Mrs Zainab Ahmed has left her role as Minister of State for Budget and National Planning to focus fully on overseeing the Ministry of Finance.
This was confirmed at the weekly Federal Executive Council Meeting on Wednesday.
“She is no longer Minister of State for Budget and National Planning for now until anything contrary happens. For now, she is in charge of the Ministry of Finance,” Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said after the FEC meeting.
President Muhammadu Buhari had asked Mrs Ahmed to oversee the Finance Ministry on Friday after accepting the resignation of Mrs Kemi Adeosun.
President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the resignation of the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun.
The President accepted the resignation on Friday, a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said.
The President thanked the Minister for her services to the nation and wished her well in her future pursuits.
Read the full text of her resignation letter HERE.
In the letter to the President Buhari, the minister thanked him for the opportunity to serve and addressed the certificate forgery scandal which led to her resignation.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has approved that the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, should oversee the Ministry of Finance with effect from today.
Adeosun’s time as Finance Minister had its share of controversies and successes.
When she was first appointed, there were questions about her competency and profile, but they faded as time went on.
She courted controversy again when she suspended and subsequently fired Mr Munir Gwarzo as the Director-General of the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission with Gwarzo challenging her powers to suspend him.
The certificate scandal which erupted in July, however, did not go away with the Minister saying she resigned after finding out her NYSC exemption certificate was fake.
Apart from the controversies, Adeosun played a major role in the Federal Government’s economic plan.
During her time as Finance Minister, She set up “The Efficiency Unit”, cut thousands of ghost workers from the government’s payroll, led the whistleblower programme and championed the government’s tax amnesty programme – the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme.
Also, she contributed to the floating of several multibillion-dollar Eurobond offerings and led Nigeria’s discussions with multilateral institutions.
Mrs Adeosun is the second minister to resign from President Buhari’s cabinet.
Mrs Amina Mohammed had resigned as Minister of Environment in February 2017 to become the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Mrs Adeosun who found herself in a scandal after online media organisation Premium Times published a report alleging that she forged her NYSC exemption certificate explained how she secured the certificate in her resignation letter to the President.
Read the full letter, released by the Presidency, below:
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Let me commence by thanking you profusely for the honour and privilege of serving under your inspirational leadership. It has been a truly rewarding experience to learn from you and to observe at close quarters your integrity and sense of duty.
I have, today, become privy to the findings of the investigation into the allegation made in an online medium that the Certificate of Exemption from National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) that I had presented was not genuine. This has come as a shock to me and I believe that in line with this administration’s focus on integrity, I must do the honourable thing and resign.
Your Excellency, kindly permit me to outline some of the background to this matter. I was born and raised in the United Kingdom, indeed my parental family home remains in London. My visits to Nigeria up until the age of thirty-four (34) were holidays, with visas obtained in my UK passport. I obtained my first Nigerian passport at the age of thirty-four (34) and when I relocated there was debate as to whether NYSC Law applied to me. Upon enquiry as to my status relating to NYSC, I was informed that due to my residency history and having exceeded the age of thirty (30), I was exempted from the requirement to serve. Until recent events, that remained my understanding.
On the basis of that advice and with the guidance and assistance of those, I thought were trusted associates, NYSC were approached for documentary proof of status. I then received the certificate in question. Having never worked in NYSC, visited the premises, been privy to nor familiar with their operations, I had no reason to suspect that the certificate was anything but genuine. Indeed, I presented that certificate at the 2011 Ogun State House of Assembly and in 2015 for Directorate of State Services (DSS) Clearance as well as to the National Assembly for screening. Be that as it may, as someone totally committed to a culture of probity and accountability I have decided to resign with effect from Friday, 14th September, 2018.
Your Excellency, It has been an exceptional privilege to have served our nation under your leadership and to have played a role in steering our economy at a very challenging time. I am proud that Nigeria has brought discipline into its finances, has identified and is pursuing a path to long term sustainable growth that will unlock the potential in this great economy. Under your leadership, Nigeria was able to exit recession and has now started to lay the foundations for lasting growth and wealth creation. Repositioning this huge economy is not a short term task and there are no short cuts, indeed there are tough decisions still to be made but I have no doubt that your focus on infrastructural investment, revenue mobilisation and value for money in public expenditure will deliver growth, wealth and opportunity for all Nigerians.
I thank His Excellency, the Vice President and my colleagues in the Federal Executive Council for the huge pleasure and honour of working with them. I also thank most specially, the team in the ‘Finance Family’ of advisers and heads of agencies under the Ministry of Finance. Your Excellency, this group of committed Nigerians represent a range of backgrounds, ethnicities and ages. They have worked well above and beyond the call of duty to support me in the tasks assigned. The diversity in my team and their ability to work cohesively to deliver reforms, convinces me that Nigeria has the human capital required to succeed.
Your Excellency, let me conclude by commending your patience and support, during the long search for the truth in this matter. I thank you again for giving me the honour of serving under your leadership, it is a rare privilege, which I do not take for granted. As a Nigerian and committed progressive, I appreciate you for your dogged commitment to improving this nation.
Please be assured, as always, of my highest regards and best wishes.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun to clear the air over the allegations of certification forgery leveled against her “without further delay’ and settle the facts of the case once and for all.”
SERAP states that “Suspicions of certificate forgery involving a senior member of the government if not urgently and satisfactorily addressed would weaken public trust in the government’s oft-expressed commitment to transparency and accountability.”
According to the organisation, Several days after being accused of forging her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate, Mrs. Adeosun is yet to make any official statement in reaction to the alleged scandal.
In a statement, on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, “Clarifying the allegations of certificate forgery would show a commitment to doing the right thing and a natural disposition toward openness. The continuing failure and/or refusal to speak to Nigerians on these allegations amounts to a betrayal of public trust. If she can show the courage to clear the air on the allegations, Mrs Adeosun can be a strong promoter of the values of transparency and accountability, something which the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has regularly expressed commitment to embrace and achieve.”
“The failure to address the allegations may create public anger and lead to accusation of a cover-up. The public can become passive and cynical if it believes that people in a position of public trust are out for themselves. It is the core responsibility of any senior public official to prevent that cynicism.”
“When those in a position of public trust refuse to speak up on allegations bordering on certificate forgery, it invariably creates a psychological climate, a moral culture in which citizens are more likely to embrace illegal actions and choose to undertake them.”
Mrs. Kemi Adeosun who was born in England in 1967, pursued all her education career in England and graduated in 1989 at the age of 22 from the Polytechnic of East London, now University of East London. Having graduated before the age of 30, she was by the provisions of the NYSC Act supposed to undergo a mandatory service year for her to qualify for any position, be it in public or private sector in Nigeria.
Adeosun reportedly obtained the certificate in question twenty years after her graduation in September 2009. The certificate, according to reports was purportedly signed by a late Director General of the scheme, Yusuf Bomoi who was said to have retired from service eight months earlier than the date the minster obtained the document.
The management of NYSC admitted that the Minister had actually applied for an Exemption Certificate but was not specific whether Adeosun had been issued the certificate. In a statement signed by the Director, Press and Publications Relations, Mrs. Adenike Adeyemi, the scheme said it would investigate the origin of the purported Exemption Certificate in question.
Also, the Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung had summoned the Director General of NYSC Brigadier General Suleiman Kazaure to obtain first-hand information from the DG on what transpired and how far the scheme had gone with the investigation. Dalung promised that as soon as he was done getting the brief from the NYSC boss, he would brief Nigerians on the matter
Eligible Nigerians who skipped the service are liable to be sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and/or N2,000 fine, according to Section 13 of the NYSC Act. Section 13 (3) of the Act also prescribes three-year jail term or option of N5,000 fine for anyone who contravenes the provision of the law. Subsection 4 of the same section also criminalises giving false information or illegally obtaining the agency’s certificate. It provides for up to a three-year jail term for such offenders.
World Bank Mission officials will on Wednesday be meeting with the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and some governors in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The delegates which comprise of 10 Executive Directors will hold discussions with the Nigerian Government on the Bank’s project in the country.
In the World Bank Mission are the Bank’s Executive Directors for Switzerland, France, Italy, Nordic, Peru, Germany, South Africa (representing Angola, Nigeria and South Africa), Burkina Faso (representing Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa), Zimbabwe (representing Anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa), United Kingdom and Indonesia.
A statement by the spokesman to the Minister of Finance, Olayinka Akintunde, says, the delegation will discuss ongoing World Bank projects and the country’s development priorities with the Vice President, Minister of Finance and the Governors.
The officials will also meet the organised private sector in Lagos as well as undertake a tour of LAPO Microfinance project in Lagos and Azura Power Plant in Edo State.
The visit is expected to provide a first-hand impression of the challenges that both the Federal and State Governments face in implementing development projects as well as ensuring good governance overall.
It will further enhance the goal of the Bank for member-countries and the effectiveness of the Executive Directors in providing the necessary support.
The Senate has summoned the Minister of Defence Mansur Dan Ali, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun to appear before the Committee on Appropriation.
Adeosun and her colleagues were on Tuesday summoned before the Upper Chamber to explain why 462 million dollars was released for the purchase of helicopters by the Federal Government without its approval.
They are to appear to before the committee which has been given a one-week deadline to present their findings to the Senate.
The summon is coming after a lawmaker Senator Samuel Anyanwu, at plenary drew the attention of the Senate to the alleged expenditure of 462 million dollars by the Federal Government for the purchase of helicopters.
The former Director General (DG) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, on Tuesday during the House of Representatives Investigative Hearing on his suspension faulted the public service rule quoted by the Minister of Finance in his letter of suspension.
Reading from the letter, which was signed by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun dated November 29, 2017, at the hearing, Gwarzo said the rule quoted by Adeosun does not exist and doesn’t have the power to suspend him.
“I refer to your representation dated November 8, 2017, and further enquiries undertaken by this Ministry and based on the information available to this ministry. I have been convinced of the need for a thorough investigation to be undertaken. In order to ensure an unhindered process. You are hereby suspended from office from the date of this letter,” he read.
Drawing attention to the last paragraph of his suspension letter, Gwarzo read further.
“This suspension is in line with the public service rule 03405 and public service rule 03406 pending the conclusion of the investigation.”
He, however, claimed that this public service rule quoted by the Minister of Finance is wrong.
“What we are saying is, this public service rule that she quoted does not exist in the public service rule. Her intention is to make reference to 030405 rather than 03405. That 03405 does not give the Honourable Minister the power to suspend the DG of SEC,” he said.
Making further reference to the Public Service Rule, Gwarzo said the Securities and Exchange Commission as a public service institution has its own policies and cannot be influenced by external factors.
“If you look at the Public Service Rule, which is 160103, it clearly states that, for an institution that already has their own policies, they should be guided by that. My letter of appointment clearly states that my letter of appointment will be governed by the provisions of the Investment and Securities Act.
“So, the question is, what instrument did the honourable Minister use or rely on in my suspension. What she quoted does not exist,” he insisted.
The public hearing on the need to intervene in the conflict between the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and the suspended DG of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Mounir Gwarzo, commenced on December 21, 2017, but was rescheduled for January 2018, due to Adeosun’s absence.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions, Yusuf Tajudeen at the hearing, last year, read a letter from the Minister of Finance asking for permission to attend the Federal Executive Council meeting.
The United Nations has appointed Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, into the Investments Committee of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF).
UN’s Under-Secretary-General, Ms. Jan Beagle, who confirmed Adeosun’s appointment, disclosed that the Adeosun would serve a one-year term of office effective from January 1, 2018.
A statement on Sunday from the Special Adviser, Media & Communications to the Honourable Minister of Finance, Oluyinka Akintunde, quoted the UN’s chief as saying.
“On behalf of the Secretary-General, I have the honour to inform you that at the 55th plenary meeting of the seventy-second session of the General Assembly, the General Assembly decided to appoint you as an ad-hoc member of the Investments Committee for a one-year term of office, beginning from 1st January 2018,” Beagle said.
Upon the announcement of the appointment, congratulatory messages have been pouring in favour of the minister.
Among which is the Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Investments Committee of the UNJSPF, Ms. Carolyn Boykin.
Boykin congratulated and welcomed her into the committee, saying, “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment and wish you success in your work.”
The UNJSPF is a Fund that provides UN pension, death, disability and the other related benefits for staff of the United Nations and the other organizations admitted to membership in the Fund.
The UNJSPF is a multiple employer defined benefit plan and governed by the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board (UNJSPB), the Staff Pension Committee for each member organization, and a secretariat to the UNJSPB and to each such committee.
The Fund was established through UN General Assembly resolution 248 (III) (passed December 1948) which came into effect on the 23rd January 1949 making it a permanent retirement scheme.
It currently serves 23-member organizations, with 128,262 active participants and approximately 75,000 retirees in nearly 200 countries. The Honourable Minister has accepted her appointment by the United Nations into the Investments Committee of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF).
The House of Representatives has resolved to probe the suspension of the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr Mounir Gwarzo.
Gwarzo was earlier suspended by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, on Wednesday, November 9, over the allegation of financial impropriety and to allow for an unhindered investigation of several allegations of financial impropriety leveled against him.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday mandated it’s committee on Capital Market and Institutions to investigate the allegations and circumstances that led to the suspension of Gwarzo.
This resolution follows a motion of urgent public importance by a lawmaker, Diri Douye, who also informed the House of allegations of interference by the Ministry of finance in the activities of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The house is asking all parties in the matter to maintain status quo pending the outcome of the investigation of the house.
The committee is expected to report back in two weeks.
Adeosun on Wednesday, November 29 also suspended two management staff of the SEC, Mr. Abdulsalam Naif Habu, Head of Media Division and Mrs Anastasia Omozele Braimoh, Head of Legal Department for alleged involvement in financial impropriety.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has suspended the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Mounir Gwarzo.
Gwarzo is suspended in order to allow for an unhindered investigation of several allegations of financial impropriety leveled against him.
This was contained in a statement signed by Deputy Director, Press, Federal Ministry of Finance, Patricia Deworitshe on Wednesday, November 29.
The suspension is in line with the Public Service Rules (PSRs) 03405 and 03406.
The Minister has therefore set up an Administrative Panel of Inquiry (API) to investigate and determine the culpability of the Director-General.
The statement added that “She has directed the suspended SEC Director-General to immediately hand over to the most senior officer at the Commission, pending the conclusion of the investigation by the API.”
“Also suspended are two management staff of the Commission – Mr Abdulsalam Naif Habu, Head of Media Division and Mrs Anastasia Omozele Braimoh, Head of Legal Department – who have been alleged to engage in financial impropriety in the Commission.”
Allegations against Director General include an alleged collection of severance package in the sum of N104,851,154.94 while still in service.
He is also reported to be the Director of Medusa Investment Limited which is a violation of Public Service Rules (PRS) 030424.
He is also reported to have awarded contracts to the same company and other companies to which he is related, thus resulting in a conflict of interest, among other allegations.
Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, on Thursday, explained the rationale behind the Federal Government’s decision to borrow $5.5billion.
Amid concerns raised by Nigerians about the nation’s foreign debt profile, Adeosun, who appeared on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, said: “we are not in a huge amount of debt.”
The minister’s statement comes more than two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the National Assembly, seeking the approval for $5.5bn external loans to finance the 2017 Appropriation Act.
She, however, maintained that the country’s debt profile stands low when compared to developed nations.
“Nigeria’s borrowings are actually low relative to the size of our GDP; it is one of the areas where we are doing very well. We have a debt GDP of 17 percent; Ghana is 68, South Africa is about 52, most developed countries are about 50.
“The threshold for a developing economy is 40; we are 17, Britain is 89, America is over a hundred. Even Germany which is probably the most conservative borrowing country in Europe is 68. So we are not in the huge amount of debt,” the minister said.
On the controversy trailing the proposed loan, She said, “Out of that $5.5bn, $2.5bn is for the 2017 budget, $3bn is simply to refinance money that we already owe. We inherited a lot of treasury bills; so every 90 days, those bills mature and we have to pay interest on them.
“So what we want to do is to take $3bn and then as the treasury bills mature, we will refinance from naira into dollar,” she added.
The Federal Government has released the proceeds of the N100 billion Sukuk bond for the construction and rehabilitation of 25 major road projects in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, handed over the cheque for the N100 billion to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babtunde Fashola, at a ceremony in Abuja on Thursday.
“The proceeds will be used to support government capital spending for 2017 – the construction and rehabilitation of 25 key economic roads across the six geo-political zones of the country,” she said.
“The roads will ease commuting, spur economic activities across the country and further close our infrastructural gap.”
Mrs Adeosun promised to source more funds for the development of critical infrastructure in the country.
The Sukuk bond, which was issued by the Federal in September, had been oversubscribed according to the minister, a development she said was a sign of confidence in the Nigerian government.
The Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Mrs Patience Oniha, who was present as Mrs Adeosun handed over the cheque to Mr Fashola, praised the decision to issue the Sukuk bond, which was oversubscribed to the tune of N105 billion.