By Ignatius Okorocha
The Senate has directed its Committee on Appropriation to summon the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, her defence counterpart, Muhammed Dan-Ali, as well as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to explain how the sum of $462 million was illegally withdrawn from the Federation Accounts without appropriation by the National Assembly.
The directive was sequel to a motion moved by Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo-East) where he accused the ministers of withdrawing the money last Wednesday for payment to an American company for the purchase of helicopters without approval from the National Assembly.
Moving the motion on Tuesday, Senator Anyanwu had cited Section 80 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which requires that no money should be drawn from the consolidated revenue of the federation without the approval of the legislature.
He said that the withdrawal of the money which has been paid for helicopters to a USA based helicopter company is not to his knowledge that any approval was given by the National Assembly, hence the need for the probe.
Anyanwu said: “In March, 2018, from the Federation Account, a whooping sum of $462 million was withdrawn by the Federal Government. It was paid to an American firm for the purchase of helicopters called Helicopters Techno Fight.
“This was done without approval from this Senate and the entire National Assembly. I know that there was no time any request was brought here for the approval of such an amount by the Federal Government from the Federation Account.
“As a senator of this country, I want to find out how this thing was done. I will request that we invite the CBN governor, the Ministers of Defence and Finance. They need to tell us how these monies were withdrawn and paid to this American firm without the approval of the Senate”, Anyanwu said.
In his ruling, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, who presided over the plenary, referred the matter to the Committee on Appropriation to invite the ministers and the CBN governor to explain on how the transactions were done without recourse to the parliament and submit its report within one week.
He further charged the Appropriations committee to find out if there was such release and if the money was appropriated by the National Assembly in the budget of 2017.
By Ignatius Okorocha