Former minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, may soon be summoned by a House of Representatives Ah-Hoc Committee to explain her reason for reversing a presidential directive on the withdrawal of N1.17 billion belonging to Sokoto Rima River Basin Development Authority (SRRBDA).
The committee investigating the withdrawal of money from SRRBA’s account was told at an investigative hearing on last Wednesday that former President Goodluck Jonathan had, in a letter, approved the plea of the River Basin Authority for the payment of N1.17 billion.
The approval was conveyed to the accountant-general of the federation (AGF) by then finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala.
The payment was made into the accounts of the SRRBDA on March 9, 2015, but subsequently withdrawn in two tranches within a week in May 2015.
As part of the money had already been spent, the balance of N874.6m was eventually withdrawn by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The committee was informed how the first withdrawal of N784 million was made on May 6, 2015, while the second withdrawal of N90 million was ordered on May 12, 2015, but executed on May 16, 2015 by the CBN.
For its part, the apex bank said it credited and reversed the payment on the directives of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF).
The committee, it was gathered, would request from the CBN records of transfers and reversal of the money from the Natural Resources Fund account and other accounts.
SRRBDA managing director, Mukhtar Anka, said the appeal was made, knowing that the agency had some outstanding funds with the federal government “because all our previous budgets were never fully released since 2012.
“We could no longer meet our projects and contractual obligations any longer, while our contractors were bothering us. That was why we made the appeal,” he said.
The representative of the CBN, Suleman Barau, said the bank carried out its duties based on approved and duly signed mandates from the OAGF, who owned all accounts of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).