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Senate faults BPE’s diversion of N2.5 billion PHCN proceed

The Senate Committee on Public Account on Monday condemned the diversion of N2.5bn by officials of the Bureau of Public Enterprises.

The BPE, according to the 2015 report of the Auditor General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine, diverted the money from the proceeds of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria to buy properties through Aso Savings and Loans Plc.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Urhogbide, while scrutinising the report on Monday, expressed anger over the diversion of N2.5bn to Aso Savings and Loans.

He, therefore, asked the representative of the Director-General of BPE, Ignatius Ayewoh, who is the Director of Finance and General Services, to explain the agency’s actions.

Urhoghide asked Ayewoh to explain details of the person that authorised the diversion of the N2.5bn to Aso Savings and Loans.

Ayewoh said the BPE did not obtain any approval from Debt Management Office.

He said, “We did not have approval from DMO to pay N2.5bn from proceed of PHCN to Aso Savings and Loans.”

The chairman accused the representative of BPE of colluding with the Aso Savings and Loans to carry out the transaction.

He demanded the list of staff who benefited from the properties acquired from the Aso Savings and Loans.

He said the document must be submitted to the committee by Wednesday, describing the transaction as illegal.

Urhogbide said the committee would ask the Federal Government to recover the money from the Aso Savings and Loans.

He said, “We are going to ask the government to recover its fund which you threw away to Aso Savings and Loans.”

Meanwhile, the BPE had in a written submission to the committee, claimed that it had the approval of the Accountant-General of the Federation to establish a relationship with Aso Savings and Loans.

The BPE said, “This was a loan guarantee, but a fund placement at five per cent interest rate. It was used to negotiate a single digit interest rate to finance the bureau’s staff housing scheme.

“There is an approval from the office of Accountant General of the Federation authorising the bureau to establish a relationship with the organisation.

“Aso Savings and Loans has since September 2015 not been able to implement the directive by BPE to remit the deposit to the TSA.

“A committee chaired by Vice President is currently trying to resolve the issue with Aso Savings and Loans Plc and about 16 MDAs are affected.

“Aso Savings and Loans Plc has offered the BPE some buildings and plots repayment of N70m monthly to defray the deposit with accrued interest.”

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