THE Senate Tuesday vowed to issue a warrant of arrest on the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele following his refusal to appear before it to defend the release of $289 million to former National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayo Oke in cash.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja on the investigation, Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo South said that the Governor of the apex bank has been summoned several times before the committee on the $289 million but vehemently ignored the invitation of the Committee.
The Senate had last week uncovered how CBN allegedly released $289 million to former NIA Director General.
Senator Urhoghide who explained that the warrant of arrest has become imperative because there was no official of the CBN that deemed it important to honour the invitations of the Committee on the ongoing investigation, said, ” We have summoned CBN Governor, it is the only part remaining in the investigation, neither has the CBN Governor sent any of his official, they have to corroborate the story whether they are correct or not correct.
“The Committee is considering to issue warrant of arrest on Governor of Central Bank. Over 10 issues are needed to be addressed by CBN Governor.”
Urhoghide said further that other issues like sales of of Federal Bounds, collection Account and discrepancies in figures between the agencies and CBN needed to be addressed by the Governor of Apex bank.
Recall that fresh facts emerged before the Senate last week that the money found in the Ikoyi swanky apartment of the former NIA Director- General, Ayodele Oke by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was a fraction of $289million cash collected by the DG from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The revelation came three years after the $43million scandal that led to the sacking of Ayodele Oke as the Director – General of NIA.
The information was unfolded to the Senator Matthew Urhoghide led Senate Committee on Public Accounts by the Financial Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Godwin Okonkwo.
Okonkwo who noted that the $289million cash given to the former NIA boss by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBNwas based on directive to that effect from NNPC, stressed that NNPC gave directive for release of the said money by CBN to NIA but explained that NNPC’s action was also based on directive from the presidency then.
According to him, the gave approval for payment of the said amount to NIA on February 16, 2015 which was however carried out by the CBN on February 24 ,2015 to the former DG and not the Agency.
Okonkwo had said, “Yes, we complied with the request. It is not true that we said the money should be paid to the Director – General but to the NIA as an institution.
“I’m not defending NIA for requesting for the money to be paid in cash but considering the circumstances, which is for security purposes.
“NNPC obliged because we are not in charge of security. If they request for payment in cash and they said it is for security, and that it must be transfered through electronic means to a particular account, NNPC cannot say no because If anything happens afterwards, NNPC will be held responsible ”