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House of Reps Question Whereabouts of $16Bn Missing From ONSA

by on June 16, 2021
 

The House of Representatives, yesterday, queried the whereabouts of $10 billion said to be missing from the coffers of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The lawmakers also sought to know the status of another $6.1 billion paid by the ONSA into the account of one of its contractors.

The $10 billion was said to have been withdrawn from the ONSA account without diligently following laid down financial rules.

But Director of Finance and Administration in the ONSA Brigadier Gen. Jafaru Mohammed, who stood in for National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Mungono, said the office did no wrong in its financial dealings.

At the resumed public hearing of the House’s ad hoc committee on recovered loots and assets of government, chairman of the committee, Adejaro Adeogun, assured that the committee remains committed to unearthing all illegal transactions and assets in the custody of different government agencies.

He regretted that most government agencies do not follow statutory rules and procedures for handling recovered funds and assets.

The committee found that there were no records of non-cash items like speedboats, assorted vehicles, drilling machines and others recovered by the police while the presidential assets recovery committee lasted.

Deputy Inspector General of Police J.O. Egbunike, who represented Inspector General of Police, Baba Alkali, agreed with the lawmakers on poor record keeping by the police and called for reforms.

He said the records were not available because some serving and retired police officers had hidden them. He further asked the committee to invite the people in question to appear and shed more light on the issues raised.

The panel thereafter asked him to reappear on Friday this week with the documents for further hearing.

Similarly, the committee questioned the whereabouts of the $44 million recovered from the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2017.

Adeogun, who quoted the EFCC chairman, claimed that the fund recovered from the infamous Osborne Apartment in Ikoyi was in the custody of the ONSA.

But Mohammed told the committee that the ONSA has nothing to do with recovered funds and assets. He explained that the only money recovered from the NIA was about $41 million, being the fund seen in its vaults during investigation and restructuring of the agency.

“The NIA was under investigation and the President directed that the ONSA should take charge of the place. I was sent there to take charge of the funds of the agency. I went there and counted the money in their vault and it was about $41 million.

“We kept that money and after the investigation, the President ordered that the money be returned to the agency. We have returned it to the owners as directed by the President,” he said.

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