The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has given its support to the directive of the Nigerian Senate to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelemah and the acting Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) Terhemba Nongo, to return N14.3bn (Fourteen Billion, Three Hundred Million Naira) to the coffers of the Federal Government.
In a press release issued by CACOL’s Coordinator for Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga on behalf of the Anti-graft organization, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he remarked, “The Senate has just made a revelation to the effect that over N13bn Naira was diverted from the 2017 budget of NEPZA. The directive was contained in a letter written by the Chairman of Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, Mohammed Sabo representing Jigawa South West. This money was allegedly transferred from NEPZA’s account domiciled with the country’s Central Bank (CBN) to a private firm’s account. The senator revealed some of the actions taken to prevent this fraud, including writing a letter, through his committee to the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, not to release the money that, unfortunately was released in contrast to the advice from the Senate.
“According to the letter written by the Senate committee to the CBN Governor, the said money was transferred from NEPZA’s account to the account of Nigeria Economic Zone Company, NEZC, contrary to relevant constitutional provisions (1999 as amended) which are contained under Section 80(2)(3 and (4) and Financial Regulation, sections 313 and 314 as well as relevant Senate Standing Order. Though, the Senate gave a stipulated timeframe within which this order must be obeyed, failure of which it intends to apply its legislative sanctions against the Ministry and concerned company, CACOL as an anti-corruption organization with total disdain for any corruptive acts, especially by government officials directly or through proxies, agencies or their representatives, believe that these allegations and the amount involved is weighty enough to attract the interest and intervention of relevant anti-graft agencies in the country, with a view to investigating and redressing these anomalies, where relevant.”
The CACOL Boss added, “Considering the monumental woes and destruction corruption has wreaked on Nigeria till date, no stone should be left unturned in beaming our searchlight wherever the scourge bares its pangs, irrespective of whosoever is involved. This is why we are using this medium to call on the two anti-graft agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to, as a matter of urgency and national interest, wade in and bring whosoever is culpable to book without much ado so as to serve as a deterrent.