Alleged N14bn transfer: Minister, senators trade words - AMEBO ONLINE NEWSPAPER

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Alleged N14bn transfer: Minister, senators trade words

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Minister of Trade and Investment, Richard Adeniyi Adebayo

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, told the Senate Committee on Appropriation that there was no transfer of N14bn to any private company.

The Senate Committee on Trade and Investment had invited him over the alleged transfer of N14bn by the ministry to a private company as budgetary allocation of the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority.

The minister, who appeared before Senate Committee on Appropriation, said the money was still in the coffers of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He said the company to which the money was allegedly transferred, the Nigeria Special Economic Zone Company, is owned by the Federal Government.

He SAID the company was set up by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and investment in cooperation with private investors invited by the ministry, with the ministry holding major shares in the company.

“The issue is that my predecessor, at the time of setting up the company, adopted a process that created an impression being taken by a lot of people that it is a private company.

“The setting up of the company has a FEC approval, it has presidential endorsement. It is not a private company. It belongs to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but with the participation of private shareholders.

“The amount of money (N14bn) appropriated to it is intact,  it is in the custody of the Federal Government of Nigeria,  nobody has touched it.

“The matter is being investigated by security agencies and once the investigation is concluded, we would sit down and make sure that proper processes are followed to make sure that the company is properly incorporated with the proper shareholders,  with the proper representative of the shareholder and the board.

“After this, we will now move forward with the programme we have for the company. But, we have put the entire process on hold until the outcome of the investigation. Once the investigation is concluded, I will take action,” the minister said.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin, said that the Senate would not make any provision for the ministry until the matter was resolved.

“Honourable Minister, we are going to put everything on hold until the matter is resolved, for us, we won’t make provision for you this year” he said.

The ministry had proposed N8, 988, 010, 031, 00 for capital which the Committee on Appropriation refused to approve pending the resolution of the N14bn approved for it in the 2018 budget.

Daily Trust

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