The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, and the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris was on Tuesday summoned by the Senate Public Accounts Committee over an alleged secret withdrawal of N7.5 billion from the two per cent National Automotive Design and Development Council Levy Account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The alleged secret withdrawal was contained in the report of the auditor-general, currently being scrutinised by both chambers of the National Assembly.
According to the report, the first tranche of N3.8 billion was withdrawn in two instalments of N2.8bn in 2005 and N1bn in 2006.
The report added that the second tranche of N3.7bn, was withdrawn between March and December 2000 in three separate payments of N725m, N1bn and N2bn.
Responding to enquiry of the Chairman of the Senate panel, Senator Matthew Urhoghide about the transaction, the Director General, National Automotive Design and Development Council, Jelani Aliyu said the money was withdrawn without the knowledge of the agency.
He said the agency had been writing to the accountant-general and the Ministry of Finance on the need to refund the money but that there was no response.
The Senate Committee therefore resolved to summon the Minister of Finance and the Accountant-General of the Federation to give further explanations about the fund.
The AuGF query partly read, “A total sum of N3,836,000,000.00 was irregularly withdrawn from the two per cent National Automotive Council Levy Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja in two instalments of N2,800,000,000 (in 2005) and N1,036,000,000.00 (in 2006) by the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Finance as car loans to be granted for the Security Personnel Car Purchase Scheme Loan.
“The transaction was carried out by the Presidency in collaboration with the Bank of Industry, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Accountant-General of the Federation without the involvement of NAC, the account owner.
“However, the principal and the accrued interest from the fictitious loan have not been paid back nor are records available on the beneficiaries, agreement documents, moratorium, duration of the loan, the yearly interest rates accruable and how the fund will be paid back by the beneficiary.”
The director-general has been requested to intensify correspondence with the Honourable Minister of Finance, Accountant-General of the Federation and the Presidency to recover the fund (loan).