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Senate Summons Adebayo, NEPZA MD over N15 billion padded into budget for private Company

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Senate on Thursday summoned Minister of Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Acting, Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority( NEPZA), Terhembe Nongo over N15 billion allocated to private company in the budget .

The summon was sequel to the presentation of report of Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, Senator Rose Oko who informed the Committee that during the budget defence of the Ministry, she asked the Minister and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry on the purpose of the N15 billion in the budget which they were unable to defend .

According to Senator Oko, When the Minister came for budget defence and the permanent secretary said they didn’t know anything about the issue as it is between Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the company.

The Chairman of the Committee said that the Committee had asked for the shareholding structure from the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, the documents provided did not reveal the identity of the shareholders.

Oko informed the Senate Committee on Appropriation that the Committee has requested the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) to give full details of what happened and their response was the money was allocated to them in 2017 and as at then the company was not in existence.

According to her, we have requested the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) to give full details of what happened and their response was the money was allocated to them in 2017 and as at then the company was not in existence.

Oko told the lawmakers that the money was released in 2017 to the company when it was not yet registered in the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

She said, “The company was registered in 2018; meanwhile the money was already allocated in 2017 which is domiciled in CBN. More so, N15billion was released two days ago to the same company.”

The Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Senators Jubril Barau however. Said that the Committee directed the NEPZA MD, Minister and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry to appear on Monday to correct the anomaly.

According to him, We will fix a date for you to come with the Minister and the permanent secretary alongside the MD of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) on Monday by 11am to correct this anomaly.”- Senator Barau Jibrin.

It could be recalled that the Eight Senate had directed the acting Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, Terhemba Nongo, to return N14.3bn to the purse of the Federal Government.

It claimed that the money was diverted from the 2017 budget of NEPZA.

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