Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Reps. to Probe Jonathan's Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Today over N17b Fraud

Former President Goodluck Jonathan's most trusted Minister Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been summoned to appear before the House of representatives today 6 June to answer questions bordering the Procurement Act, 2007 and a N 17billion pre-shipment fraud.

Former minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as well as her successor, Kemi Adeosun were summoned to appear before the house committee overseeing the Procurement Act, 2007 over alleged abuse and breach of the Act.

 TDN learnt that others invited to appear before the house includes a former Head of Service (HoS), Mr Steve Otunla, and a former Accountant-General to the Federation (AoGF), Mr Jonah Otunla.

 This is the first time Okonjo-Iweala would be summoned by the House since leaving office Vanguard reports that the committee had recently summoned Adeosun and some others over alleged payment of N17 billion to five firms believed to be ghost companies as consultancy fees.

The committee, through its chairman, Oluwole Oke, says the summoning of those affected is to ensure proper investigation. Oke also issued a strong warning: “The shortest way to Kuje prison is through breach of procurement laws.” He asked the invited stakeholders to bring with them presidential approvals, letters of awards, agreements signed with the contractors and performance records.

 The report said members of the committee decried the discrepancies between the submissions made by ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). According to the members, out of the 12 pre-shipment inspectors and two monitors who benefited from the N17 billion, seven were appointed in line with due process while five were appointed through the back door.

Oke recalled how a former governor of Bauchi state and a former member of the House of Representatives, who were part of those who promulgated the procurement law, were sentenced to five years imprisonment for infractions. He further recalled how a former chairman of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) was also sentenced to two years imprisonment for breaching the Procurement Act before the Supreme Court intervened.