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Published On: Thu, Mar 6th, 2014

Reps summon Minister, AGF, others over N29bn pension fund

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House of Representatives reps logoBy Lawrence Olaoye

The House of Representatives yesterday summoned the Minister of Finance and Coordinating minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Accountant General of the Federation, Jonah Otunla and the Director General if he Budge Office, Bright Okogwu to explain why the N29 billion pension fund was diverted.

Members of the House Committee on Pension were shocked when they heard that N29 Billion Police Pension fund kept in a commercial bank has been re-appropriated for other capital projects.

A bewildered member of the committee, Paul Dike, queried the power of the Accountant General to re-appropriate a fund already earmarked for Police Pension.

The Chairman Pension Committee, Mohammed Bawa, threatened that if those being invited would not provide convincing reasons for their action, the committee would be compelled to conduct public hearing to expose those that breached the Act of National Assembly.

Explaining that the money was gone for good, the Director-General Committee for Pension Transition Arrangement Department, Ncllie Mayshak said that the money was moved from a commercial bank to an account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

She said that this was done when it was discovered that the money was not really needed at the time. “The Accountant General have a way of re-appropriating money from one sector to another for optimal use”, she stated.

Irked by this revelation, the committee resolved that there was need for the Accountant-General and the Minister of Finance, who had initially frozen the account to explain where they derived the power to re-appropriate without reference to the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, Mayshak explained that the Minister of Finance had just granted a request to unfreeze another pension account which has N2.5 billion.

She said that this became necessary because of the shortfall in money needed to pay pensioners adding that the commercial money kept in the bank is fast depleting.

 

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