Posted by News Express | 22 March 2014 | 2,897 times
The allegations made against the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, by the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Solomon Adeola Olamilekan, over a purportedly “missing” N24 billion from the Police pension account are as ridiculous as they are false, the minister has said.
Replying yesterday evening, Okonjo-Iweala said in a statement issued in Abuja by her Special Adviser, Paul C Nwabuikwu:
“As we explained in a recent communication, the money is NOT missing. It is unfortunate that the Chairman has persisted in using his privileged platform to disseminate such distortions even though the Minister has repeatedly explained to the Committee that the money was an overpayment based on the demands of those trying to steal from pension funds which were successfully blocked and the money returned to the treasury by the Minister.
“This persistence in peddling this untruth suggests that this is yet another attempt to tarnish the image of the Minister for partisan political reasons and to take public attention away from the positive efforts to reform the historically problematic pensions sector.
“It is indeed a sad irony that the Committee Chairman is attacking the Minister for taking action to ensure that public money was not stolen, but put back into the treasury where it belongs.
“It is also important to state that the amount in question was returned to the treasury well before the DG of Pension Transitional Arrangement Department (PTAD) was appointed so the effort to use her to “confirm” that the amount is missing is contrived and deceptive.
“The Minister is currently out of the country but she is ready and willing to take up the challenge posed by the Committee Chairman for a public discussion on the issue.
“Beyond this issue, she also looks forward to the opportunity to throw light on the status of pension reforms and the Federal Government’s efforts to fix the problems of the sector in a sustainable way.”
•Photo shows Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala.
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