The federal government is investigating the circumstances surrounding the withdrawal of N1.5 billion from the account of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. The investigation, which is being conducted by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation and security agencies, will probe the use the money. It would also retrieve the funds and bringing those who allegedly stole the cash to book.

Already, two senior accountants in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs have already been queried and suspended from office pending the conclusion of the investigation into their roles in the alleged theft of the fund.  The money was alleged to have been withdrawn on the instructions of senior political aide, claiming to be working on the directives of a top presidency bigwig.

The missing money was allegedly withdrawn in two tranches. Initial sum of N605 million alleged to have been withdrawn by a minister is now a subject of investigation by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) while another withdrawal of over N800 million attracted the attention of the HoS which queried the two accountants and finally suspended them.

The Federal Government is expected to invite the former minister to appear before its anti-corruption bodies to explain his role in the missing cash. Previously, Elder Godsday Orubebe, a former minister and close confidant of former President Goodluck Jonathan, has been questioned by the ICPC and freed by the commission. The former minister denied the allegation on the ground that he had resigned before the cash went missing.

By Dike Onwuamaeze


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