Senator Rose Oko, chairman, Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, says Niyi Adebayo, the Minister of Trade and Investment had claimed ignorance of N15billion included in his ministry’s expenditure plan during a budget defence.
Aside Adebayo, Terhembe Nongo, the acting, managing director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, who accompanied the former also claimed not to have any knowledge of the huge sum when quizzed.
Oko said the money had been listed as a payout to a private company in the ministry’s budget.
Oko said: “When they came for budget defence, the Minister and the Permanent Secretary said they didn’t know anything about the issue as it is between Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority and the company.
“We have requested the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority to give details of what happened and their response was the money was allocated to them in 2017 and as of then the company was not in existence.”
“The company was registered in 2018. Meanwhile, the money was already allocated in 2017 and domiciled in CBN.
More so, N15bn was released two days ago to the same company.”
Oko said the money was released in 2017 to the company when it had not been registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission.
Oko informed the Senate Committee on Appropriation that her Committee had requested the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, to provide details of the allocated funds.
Following the revelation, the Senate resolved to invite the Minister, while key officials of NEPZA are to meet the Senate Committee on Appropriation.