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$202m missing at NIA, not $44m, says Reps’ panel

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Safety and National Intelligence said on Sunday that contrary to recent reports, the real amount of money missing at the National Intelligence Agency was $202m and not the $44m as reported.

The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Aminu Sani-Jaji, said the $44m was not missing but was only moved to a safe location.

However, Sani-Jaji stated that $202m could not be accounted for at the NIA.

The committee is investigating the controversies surrounding the appointment of an acting Director General for the agency, Mr. Ahmed Rufai-Abubakar, by President Muhammadu Buhari.

There were reports that Rufai-Abubakar failed his promotion examinations.

Another allegation was that the acting DG was a citizen of Chad.

The House had passed a resolution directing the Sani-Jaji panel to investigate the allegations, just as some directors in the agency petitioned the House, seeking the removal of Rufai-Abubakar.

Sani-Jaji, who spoke with reporters in Abuja, disclosed that the committee discovered in the course of the investigation that the actual money missing at the NIA was $202m.

He confirmed that the panel had already taken the testimonies of a former DG of the agency, Mr. Ayo Oke; the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.); and the acting DG, Rufai-Abubakar.

The lawmaker added that under Oke, the NIA collected a total of $289m as “intervention” funds during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He stated that $43m was part of the money the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission uncovered in Ikoyi in April 2017, while $44m was moved from the vault of the agency to another location.

However, Sani-Jaji said the committee was unable to get any useful information on the balance of $202m from the officials, who made appearances before it.

The committee had met with the officials behind closed doors last week at the National Assembly.

Sani-Jaji added, “We had a meeting too with the NSA. We later discovered from our meeting since last week that the $44m is not missing. For that one, I can tell you they moved the money from one place to another. We are still investigating.

“If we get 60 to 70 per cent of what we are supposed to get, then we can tell you. But, for now, I will tell you categorically that the money isn’t missing. They only moved it from the agency to another place, pending when all these issues surrounding the agency would be resolved.

“If you remember, this $44m is part of the $289m approved for the then DG, Ayo Oke. You know that in April last year, there was the issue of $43m found in Ikoyi. He tried to say that the $44m and the $43m are part of the $289m.

“But for us, we are still working to see where the remaining $202m was placed. We only know about the $43m recovered in Ikoyi and the $44m recovered from their vault.

“In the course of our investigation, we will come up with where the $289m really is, not the $43m and not the $44m but the entire amount…

“Yes, for me it is ($202m) still missing. The money in question is $289m, and all what the former DG is trying to say is that the $43m and the $44m are part of the $289m.

“If you subtract $43m and $44m, where is the balance? That is why we are where we are today, and that is also why we have to intensify the investigation.”

On the allegations against the acting DG, Sani-Jaji explained the findings of his committee, “One of the issues is that, some are saying he (Rufai-Abubakar) has dual citizenship. But, he said to us categorically that his father is from Katsina State and he (his father) after sometime, decided to migrate from Katsina to Chad.

“His mother is a Nigerian, and his wife too is a Nigerian. He even showed us the approval of the then DG that he was allowed to marry her. I think she is Fadilah by name. She is from Katsina. She did her secondary school in Sandamu, according to the documents supplied to us. He said really he did his primary school in Chad, but he attended secondary school in Nigeria and his first degree was in the Bayero University, Kano.

“Again, we discussed with him and we also saw all the promotion examinations that he went through when he was in service.

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