Thursday, 17 January 2013

Reps probe missing of N2.1b from minting firm

AN investigation into the alleged disappearance of   N2.1billion from the vaults of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) in December last year may have been launched by the House of Representatives.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is the Chairman of the Board of the NSPMC.
Also, the House of Representatives Thursday directed two of its committees to jointly investigate the allegation of cover-up and professional misconduct in police investigation of the killing of Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s Principal Secretary, Olaitan Oyerinde.
Besides, members of the House Thursday passed a resolution urging the Federal Government to immortalise the First Republic Minister of Finance, the late Festus Okotie-Eboh.
The House has also directed its Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure its report on the Dana Airlines Aircraft crash on June 3, 2012 that recommended the sack of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Director General, Dr. Harold Demuren and the withdrawal of the Aircraft Operating Certificate (AOC) of Dana Airlines is implemented by the Executive.
Welcoming his colleagues back from the Christmas and New Year break for the 2013 parliamentary duties on Wednesday, the Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal vowed that the House would adopt a pragmatic approach to the fight against corruption.
His words: “We shall continue to adopt a pragmatic and functional approach to ensure that the war against corruption is removed from the realm of rhetoric by exercising absolute diligence in our oversight function so as to enhance transparency and accountability in both high and low.”
He stressed that it was high time that government woke up to its duties and changed the fortune of the hapless citizens who see daily, the wealth of the nation siphoned by some privileged few.
Consequently, at the resumption of plenary yesterday, the House resolved to constitute a special ad-hoc committee to probe the whereabouts of over N2 billion which allegedly disappeared from the vaults of the NSPMC and report back to the chamber within four weeks.
This followed the adoption of a motion brought by Albert Tanimu Sam-Tsokwa who expressed concern over the mysterious disappearance of N2.1 billion of newly printed N1,000 notes in the course of production in the first week of December 2012.
“This is the second time that large sums of monies have allegedly disappeared in the course of production due to security breaches as admitted by the management of the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC),” the lawmaker disclosed, just as he further revealed that about 39 workers of the company were summarily sacked from the establishment after news about the theft became public knowledge.
“There has been conflicting information on the actual amount of money declared missing; while the CBN Governor said it was about N2 billion, the Managing Director of the NSPMC had declared that the amount missing was N1.5 million, and the Media Adviser to the Managing Director claimed that the actual amount missing was N900,000 due to a security breach and that a security operative was arrested in Lagos with the said sum of N900,000,” the lawmaker  told the parliament yesterday at the session presided over by the Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
The security materials and documents printed by the NSPMC include among others, bank notes, coins, bank cheques and drafts, postal stamps, postal orders, treasury bills, passports, examination papers, certificates, licences, tickets, vouchers, diplomatic papers, customs, and immigration documents.
Also, the House of Representatives yesterday directed two of its committees to jointly investigate the allegation of cover-up and professional misconduct in police investigation of the killing of Oyerinde.
Adopting a motion sponsored by Pally Iriase (ACN, Edo State), the House ruled that the investigation into the killing of Oyerinde, which would be conducted jointly by the House Committee on Police Affairs and Justice, should be concluded within 14 days.
The joint committee was directed to determine the veracity or otherwise of the allegation of cover-up and professional misconduct levelled against the police in their own investigation.
Oshiomhole had last week publicly accused the police particularly the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (D.I.G.) Peter Gana, of alleged cover-up and gross professional misconduct in the investigation of the murder of Oyerinde.
Defending his motion earlier, Iriase noted that Oshiomhole’s allegation had attracted comments and concern about the safety of citizens in Edo state.
He was worried that the police had not defended themselves nor denied authorship of the police report sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution in Edo State, which exposed the alleged “shoddiness and criminal cover-up allegedly perpetrated by the named D.I.G.”
He said that the House should be further concerned “that the allegation, if proven, clearly contradicts the avowed vision and mission statements contained in the code of conduct document and belies the values espoused therein.”
The lawmaker drew the attention of the House to the fact that “ the State Security Service (SSS) had arrested and paraded six suspects, who confessed that they murdered Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde. The suspects gave a graphic description of how the crime was committed and the SSS found on them an I-Pad, cell phone and laptop belonging to Comrade Oyerinde and the wedding ring of the victim’s brother- in-law”
According to him: “The SSS in a commendable display of inter-agency cooperation handed these suspects and the case file to the police who have curiously refused to arraign the suspects.”
Iriase said that “the security challenges we face as a nation today make it incumbent on the House to treat the allegation, bordering on criminal connivance to deny justice, by the police with utmost seriousness.”
Adopting a motion sponsored by Daniel Reyenieju (PDP, Delta State) the House noted that Okotie-Eboh deserved to be immortalised for his contributions to national development.
Defending his motion, Reyenieju informed his colleagues that the national recognition being sought for the late politician had been accorded to most prominent political office holders who were killed during the first military coup’d etat of January 1966.
He recalled the events that took place during the military coup of 15 January 1966 in which the first post-independence democratic government was toppled.
Reyenieju said: “He was also the first Member of the House of Representatives from Warri Federal Constituency.”
He explained further that it was the former minister that established the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company.
“Of all those that were killed during the coup only Okotie-Eboh has not been immortalised,” he noted.
Reyenieju continued: “Okotie-Eboh had the opportunity to escape but refused to do that, instead he was repeatedly asking the security men where is my boss, the prime minister before he was assassinated.
“Even the policeman who recovered the corpses of both the prime minister and the finance minister is still very much alive but very old.”

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