Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said no money was missing or stolen under his watch between September and December last year.
Fashola denied reports that he supervised the illegal payment of N4.6bn into private accounts when he served as Minister of Power, Works and Housing.
The minister attributed the controversy over the payment of N4.6bn to some directors to challenges arising from the use of government payment platform, the Integrated Personnel Payment and Information System.
An online report (not The PUNCH) had stated that Fashola’s ministry paid over N4.6bn into personal accounts of directors and staff in four months in violation of extant law.
The report claimed that between September and December 2019, the N4.6bn was illegally paid into the private accounts of some directors and employees of the then Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
But in reaction to the report, the works minister said, “In all, no money was stolen or is missing. There is no smoking gun to criminalise Fashola.”
In a reaction he personally signed which was made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Monday, the minister explained that the Federal Government in 2007 initiated a payment platform, the IPPIS.
He argued that the current administration had been engaging all sectors of government to fully migrate to the IPPIS platform.
Fashola said, “What has happened is that not all government officials who, from time to time, needed to be paid for approved expenses were registered on the platform.
“In order to ensure that government work was not hampered, the directors of finance and accounts sought and obtained approval of the accountant-general to pay these monies through the accounts of an approved few who were on the platform.”
He added, “Those so approved then collect the money and disburse to the beneficiaries who sign receipts all of which are retired and available for verification as approved by the accountant-general.”
The minister noted that the accountant-general had recently issued new guidelines to deal with this process.
This, he said, was ‘because not all public officials had fully enrolled on IPPIS and the DFAs had the mandate to comply and not Fashola’.
The minister said it was stupid to think that a public officer would take such money on a consistent and repeated basis with impunity.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]
DOWNLOAD THE PUNCH NEWS APP NOW ON
Read the Source post on Punch Newspapers – The most widely read newspaper in Nigeria.