Senate queries Zainab Ahmed, accountant-general over N7.5bn ‘secret’ withdrawal done during year 2000 to 2006


The minister of finance Zainab Ahmed has been summoned by the senate committee on public accounts over an alleged secret withdrawal of N7.5 billion from the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) account.

Also summoned is Ahmed Idris, accountant-general of the federation, over the withdrawal from the NADDC levy account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Mathew Urhoghide-led panel issued the summons on Wednesday following a query raised in the auditor-general of the federation’s (Au GF) report.

The AuGF said the funds were withdrawn on various occasions from 2000 to 2006 for government transactions carried out by the presidency.

Jelani Aliyu, NADDC director-general, told the lawmakers that the money was withdrawn without the knowledge of the agency.

He also said previous efforts by the agency to get the money refunded have failed.

The AuGF report said N3.7 billion was withdrawn between March and December 2000 while N3.8 billion was withdrawn in two instalments — N2.8 billion in 2005 and N1 billion in 2006.

“A total sum of N3,836,000,000.00 was irregularly withdrawn from the two per cent National Automotive Council Levy Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja, in two installments of N2,800,000,000 (in 2005) and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 AuGF wrote in the query.

“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 (of NADDC) 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).”

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