The House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating recovered loot has given Ahmed Idris, the accountant-general of the federation (AGF), 48 hours to account for €5 million recovered funds said to be missing.
This was after Idris admitted at the panel’s sitting on Tuesday that there are funds whose details are not contained in the records he provided.
His admission adds to the many controversies that have surrounded recovered funds in Nigeria over the years.
There have also been questions on the transparency of the Buhari administration’s use of recovered funds, including from Sani Abacha, former head of state, who Transparency International estimates stole up to $5 billion from Nigeria.
This newspaper had also reported how the federal government paid controversial legal fees of up to $15 million to lawyers hired by Abubakar Malami, minister of justice, for the repatriation of $321 million Abacha Loot despite that Swiss lawyers had done much of the work.
During the panel’s sitting in Abuja, the lawmakers sought to know why details of certain funds in the documents provided by the accountant-general contradict figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Edun Oladapo, a member of the panel from Ogun state, then moved a motion demanding that Idris be summoned to appear before the entire house.
“Looking at the presentation of the accountant-general today viz a viz the request of this committee before him that he should give us adequate records of recovered funds, expended with the notion of records emanating from his office — £5 million not being included, I will like to move that the accountant general is concealing information from this committee and, therefore, should cause him to appear before the whole house of representatives,” he said.
His motion was, however, stepped down as Wole Oke from Osun state requested that more time be given to the accountant-general to update his records.
“Records don’t lie, £5 million cannot disappear anyhow, we can trace. Why don’t we give the accountant-general an opportunity to update his record,” Oke said.
“And, as I have said, what is important to Nigerians is an account for the total amount recovered from loot and proceeds from financial crimes and its application. That is what Nigerians are interested in….we want you to account up to the last kobo.”
Idris asked the panel to give him more time to update the records provided.
“We will incorporate this element which ordinarily is not in the report, but for all other details, we have been able to give who is the recipient of what in our report,” he said.
Adejoro Adeogun, chairman of the committee, ruled that the accountant-general be given till Thursday to appear before the panel to provide further explanations on the unaccounted funds.
He also said the next sitting on that day will be a closed-door session.