By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
Senate yesterday directed its committee on Appropriation to summon the Ministers of Finance and Defense, Kemi Adeosun and Muhammed Dan-Ali, as well as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to explain how the sum of $462 million was illegally withdrawn from the Federation Accounts without appropriation by the National Assembly.
This directive was sequel to a motion moved by Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo), in which he accused the Ministers of allegedly withdrawing the above sum last week Wednesday for payment to an American company for the purchase of helicopters without seeking approval from the National Assembly.
Moving the motion, Senator Anyanwu had cited section 80 of the 1999 Constitution (Amended) which requires that no money should be withdrawn from the consolidated revenue of the federation without the approval of the National Assembly.
He said the withdrawal of the $462.million, 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.
“In March, 2018, from the Federation Account, a whooping sum of $462 million was withdrawn by the Federal Government. It paid to an American firm for the purchase of helicopters called Helicopters Techno Fight.
“This was done without an approval from this Senate and from the 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 They need to tell us how these monies were withdrawn and paid to this American firm without the approval of the Senate”, Senator Anyanwu said.
To this end, he asked the Senate to summon the CBN governor, the finance and defense ministers to explain why such transaction should be contracted by the executive without seeking approval by the Senate.
In his ruling, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, who presided over the plenary, referred the matter to the Senate Committee on Appropriation to invite the ministers and the CBN governor to explain how the transactions were done without recourse to the parliament and submit the report to the Senate in one week.
He 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.