House of Representatives yesterday raised concerns over the whereabouts of the $44 million recovered from the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission in 2017.
The director of finance and administration in the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) Brig-General Ja’afaru Mohammed, while appearing before the House Ad-hoc committee investigating the management of the recovered fund and movable and immovable assets between 2002 and 2020,
NSA had nothing to do with recovered funds and assets.
Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Hon Adejoro Adeogun, had quoted the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as saying that the fund recovered from the infamous Osborne Apartment in Ikoyi was in the custody of the Office of the National Security Adviser.
However, Mohammed who represented the NSA, General Babagana Monguno (rtd) denied the claim, as he said the NSA’s office had nothing to do with recovered funds.
He said the only money recovered from the NIA was about $41 million which, according to him, was discovered in the vaults during the investigation and restructuring of the agency. He added that the fund had since been returned to the NIA on the directive of the president.
He further explained that the president established a Presidential Committee on recovered assets whose activities are coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser, but said the NSA had no input into the operations of the committee as it operates independently.
According to him, funds recovered by the committee are paid directly into the Recovered Funds account with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Adejoro, in his response, decried the use of recovered lots without appropriation.
While addressing the representative of the Accountant General’s office, the lawmaker said “You have the financial regulations in front of you. I want you to read the sections that talk about payment from revenue accounts, what should happen to a revenue account, and at what point monies can be taken from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. It is a consolidated account.
Head of Funds of the office of the Accountant General, Sabo Mohammed, in his response said the Accountant General only processes payments based on approvals.
“We do not habitually pay money from any source without the necessary approvals. If we have approval that payment should be made from a particular account, we have no option than to obey and pay from that account. We have to pay money from any source.
“We operate the TSA and all accounts are a subset of the CRF. The recovery account is operated as a subset of the CRF,” he said.
Meanwhile, deputy inspector-general of police in charge of Force Criminal Investigation Department, Joseph Egbunike, representative of the inspector-general Usman Baba, disclosed that the Police had been able to recover over $400 million in addition to some immovable property.
He, however, could not confirm the office in custody of the immovable assets recovered by the force.
The committee, therefore, urged the police to reconcile his records and report with information on where all recovered immovable items were located, whether they have been disposed of or not.