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Saraki, Adeosun Deny N10 Billion Fraud Scandal As Saraki Threatens To File Law Suit

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Saraki, Adeosun Deny N10 Billion Fraud Scandal As Saraki Threatens To File Law Suit

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has reacted to a PREMIUM TIMES report detailing how her ministry illegally approved N10 billion for the National Assembly.

The report, published on Friday, indicated that Mrs Adeosun released the billions to the lawmakers despite the N125billion appropriated for the federal legislature in the 2017 fiscal year for recurrent and capital expenditures.

The fund was arbitrarily approved for the lawmakers by the minister in collusion with the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.

Investigations by PREMIUM TIMES also showed that at least 44 of the 82 contractors the leadership of the National Assembly claimed they were owing were not registered on the National Database of Contractors, a database of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP). That means they are not eligible to be awarded federal contracts.

A further check by this newspaper revealed that 17 of the 44 firms were not even registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

In a statement by her media aide, Oluyinka Akintunde, Friday evening, the minister confirmed releasing the fund, but said her action remained legal.

Describing PREMIUM TIMES report as ‘defective,’ Mrs Adeosun claimed that warrants were issued before the billions were moved to the lawmakers.

“The attention of the Honourable Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has been drawn to a smear campaign by an online medium, Premium Times, of “illegally sharing of N10 billion from the national treasury”.

“The Honourable Minister wishes to debunk the entire mischievous and made-up report of the online medium which negates the ethics and professionalism of journalism. The article displays a worrying lack of understanding of Appropriation, Payments and Control, and therefore be disregarded by the public.

“The Minister further wishes to state that warrants are issued in accordance with Appropriation and after due approval by the Cash Plan Committee chaired by the Minister.”

The statement however failed to explain the process of approval for such warrant.

The minister did not also address salient issues such as the release of funds outside the budget and award of contracts to unqualified companies.

Mrs Adeosun did not also explain why she failed to conduct further due diligence by asking for evidence that the contracts were duly awarded before she approved the funds for the lawmakers.

Another explanation the minister failed to make is why her ministry preferred to give N10billion of the N20billion allocated for the payments of federal contractors to the National Assembly which has a budget that covers all its recurrent and capital spendings

Saraki threatens lawsuit over report on alleged N10billion fraud

Rattled by our report that the National Assembly under his leadership illegally received N10billion from the treasury, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has threatened to sue PREMIUM TIMES over the publication.

The story entitled: “EXCLUSIVE: Minister Adeosun, Saraki, Dogara, Accountant General in N10 billion fraud scandal”, unearthed the irregularities in the receipt and disbursement of the fund.

The report, published on Friday, indicated the billions were released to the lawmakers despite the N125billion appropriated for the federal legislature in the 2017 fiscal year for recurrent and capital expenditures.

The fund was arbitrarily approved for the lawmakers by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, in collusion with the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, the report said.

Investigations by PREMIUM TIMES also showed that at least 44 of the 82 contractors Messrs Saraki and Dogara claimed they were owing were not registered on the National Database of Contractors, a database of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP). That means they are not eligible to be awarded federal contracts.

A further check by this newspaper revealed that 17 of the 44 firms were not even registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

But rather than respond to the substantive issues raised in the report, Mr. Saraki is claiming that he cannot be held liable for how funds are disbursed to the National Assembly and how they are spent.

He is arguing that the top civil servants in the legislature are those that should be made to render accounts.

It did not matter to the Senate President that he is the chairman of the National Assembly, and that the bucks largely stop at his table.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the senator challenged the facts presented by PREMIUM TIMES saying they were incorrect.

Mr Saraki announced that he would initiate legal action on the matter.

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