OrderPaperToday – The National Security Adviser (NSA) has denied knowledge of the whereabouts of $44 million recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos State which belonged to the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) in 2017.
The NSA also denied knowledge of all withdrawals made from its recovery of looted funds account.
These denials were made at the resumed hearing of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on assessment and status of all recovered loots, movable and immovable assets from 2002 to 2020 on Tuesday.
The denials however led members of the committee to accuse the representative of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) of lying on oath after informing the Committee that it had only one account whereas it was discovered to have 5 accounts, including foreign ones.
Director of Finance and Admin in the Office of the National Security Adviser, Mr. Ja’afaru Mohammed, told the committee that the NSA’s office had nothing to do with recovered funds and assets from the Ikoyi apartment.
He said “we are not aware of spending in our accounts” in response to the committee’s questioning of a N10billion withdrawal from the NSA recovery account.
“We also have one recovery looted funds account,” Mr. Mohammed, who represented the NSA, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd) said.
He explained that the only money recovered from the NIA was about 41 million dollars which was the funds seen in its vaults during investigation and restructuring of the agency, and had since been returned to the NIA on the directive of the President.
He said: “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 dollars.
“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 also told the Committee that the President established a Presidential Committee on recovered assets whose activities is coordinated by the NSA, but was quick to add that the ONSA has no input into the operations of the committee as it operates independently of the ONSA.
Mohammed had earlier informed the committee of owning one account whereas the committee discovered 5 other foreign and local accounts which the committee confronted him but he all denied the allegation claiming they had no knowledge of the existence of such accounts.
He said funds recovered by the committee are paid directly into the Recovered Funds account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding that the money can only be deposited into the account, but cannot be withdrawn from it.
Recall that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had busted the cash haul at the Ikoyi apartments which the NIA used as a safe house in 2017.
While frowning at spending of money from the recovered funds without appropriation, the Committee Chairman, Mr. Adejoro Adeogun, said the explanation of the Accountant General on why funds are taken from the Recovery Account was not justifiable.
Addressing representative of the AGF, he said “You have the financial regulations in front of you. I want you to read the sections that talks about payment from revenue accounts, what should happen to a revenue account and at what point monies can be taken from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. It is a consolidated account.