Senate to probe NEPZA over N14.3b fraud
The Nigerian Senate has ordered an investigation into the alleged illegal transfer of N14.3billion from the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority to the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Company.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, Rose Oko, disclosed this during the 2019 budget defence of the agencies in the Ministry of Trade and Investment.
Senator Oko insists that the committee will carry out a through investigation into the matter as it violates the 2017 Appropriation Act .
She adds that the agencies with overlapping functions must be streamlined in order to reduce wastages.
The committee said the money was diverted from the 2017 budget of NEPZA. It asked the minister and the NEPZA boss to either refund the money immediately or be prepared for dire consequences.
“The money was “hurriedly” transferred between April 8 and 10, ignoring an earlier warning not to do so,” the committee said.
In her remarks, Ms Oko said the committee was aware of the existing legislative query on the ministry and the NEPZA over the N14.3 billion, illegally transferred from the 2017 Appropriation Budget of NEPZA to Nigeria Special Economic Zones Company.
“This is a breach of the 2017 Appropriation Act”, she said.
She said the committee intends to “see the query and inquiry to a logical conclusion and seek explanation how that sum got moved from government coffers ostensibly to a private company without due process and without provision of goods and services.”
Responding to the allegation, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Investment, Edet Apkan, said the money was not eventually released to the company and that it is still in the.
Export Processing Zones Authority to the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Company.