Audit query: President Jonathan approved N37.428m from 10% rice milling project account for 2015 elections – AGF Director

 Christie Edward

The House of Representatives on Tuesday commenced investigation into the illegal deduction of the sum of N37,428 million drawn from the 10% rice milling funds for the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.

The Members of Parliament expressed the concerns over the development during the investigation into the audit query issued by the office of Auditor General of the Federation (oAuGF).

As stipulated in the query, “the Accountant-General of the Federation should explain the direct deduction of the fund from the Federal Government’s account.”

In his response to the query, the AGF’s Director of Accounts, Mr.  Emma Olawale explained that the fund was advanced to the Commission as approved the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.

According to Olawale, the AGF office wrote to the Presidency and the then Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and got the approval to advance the funds to the Commission.

In her submission, Mrs. Amina Zakari, INEC’s National Commissioner who spoke on behalf of the INEC Chairman also affirmed that the Commission wrote to the Presidency and the Accountant-General’s office and got approval for the funds.

She however noted that the Commission has no mandate under the extant laws to obtain loans of any kind.

In response to her submission, the lawmakers insisted that the approval of the funds by the Accountant-General’s office was in breach of the financial regulations.

To this end, the House requested for documentary evidence of the approval given by the former President, just as they resolved to summon the Director-General Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze to appear before the probe panel at the next adjourned date for clarifications.