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Senate queries $462 million extra-budgetary helicopters purchase

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Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan Ali. PHOTO: NAN

• Summons Emefiele, Adeosun, Ali
The Senate yesterday summoned the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele; the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; and the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali to explain the alleged withdrawal of $462 million from the Federation Account for the purchase of two American helicopters without Senate approval.

It also mandated its committee on appropriation to investigate the allegation and report back in one week.

This resolution followed an adopted order 43 raised by senator Samuel Anyanwu representing Imo east senatorial district and, chairman senate committee on ethics and privileges.

Anyanwu said the alleged release of the fund and appropriation was illegal and unconstitutional.

He also cited section 80, subsection 2 and 3 of the 1999 constitution as amended to collaborate his claim.

That section titled, “Powers and Control over Public Funds” reads: 80 (1) All revenues or other moneys raised or received by the Federation (not being revenues or other moneys payable under this Constitution or any Act of the National Assembly into any other public fund of the Federation established for a specific purpose) shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

“ I want to find out how this thing was done. I will request that we invite the CBN governor, the Ministers of Defence and Finance. They need to tell us how these monies were withdrawn and paid to this American firm without the approval of the Senate.”

The Senate has also resolved to send the fresh amendments made to the constitution to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

There are 12 such Constitution Alteration Bills to be transmitted and they deal with financial autonomy of state legislature, timeline for the presentation of appropriation bill, restriction of tenure of president and governors, reduction of age for election among others.

The decision to send the bills to the President was sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored to that effect by the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and co-sponsored by 49 others.

Senate majority leader, Ahmed Lawan, who presented the motion on the floor, said the transmission of the bills would enable institutions of government prepare for immediate implementation of policies and programmes in compliance with Section 9 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He also disclosed that four other bills have been committed to the Conference Committee for further legislative action.


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