House Queries CBN,State House Over N1.15bn Ballot Paper Contract


Tasks Presidential C'ttee on Barracks Rehabilitation On N865m Service Wide Votes SAN FRANCISCO, February 17, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives Monday summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Permanent Secretary, State House, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Nigeria's High Commissioner to South Africa to appear before its committee on public accounts to answer questions relating to N1.

15 billion contract awarded from the Service Wide Votes for the printing of ballot papers for the 2007 Presidential Election.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon.

Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, who disclosed this on Monday also asked the Presidential Committee on Barracks Rehabilitation to account for the N865 million allegedly paid to it from the Service Wide Votes by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

'We have records from the Office of the Accountant General that N865 million from the Service Wide Votes have been given to you (Presidential Committee on Barracks Rehabilitation),' Adeola alleged.

Addressing the media at the National Assembly, the chairman said the invited persons and agencies would need to convince his committee that there was no fraud in the transaction as the statistics at his disposal indicates that there is a massive fraud going on.

He said it was unbelievable that while the Office of the Accountant General has shown records that it released such huge sums of monies, the agencies are denying vehemently that they do not receive it, adding that it means there is confusion.

Olamilekan explained that on April 17, 2007, the CBN transferred N1.

15 billion to the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa for the printing of presidential ballot papers.

He said a South African company was contracted to produce 65 million ballot papers at the unit cost of N16 each.

According to the chairman, there was a memo from the chief of staff to the president to the Accountant General of the Federation to cause the issue of N1.

15 billion from the Service Wide Votes.
'But I can tell you, there were two cheques from the State House sent to the CBN for the same purpose (N1.

15 billion).
So we don't know how much was actually collected.
How many times was the contract paid for? 'We are therefore inviting these agencies to come and show us evidence of correspondence- how many ballot papers were printed and at what cost; we would like to see the contractual agreement.

We want clarification concerning the cheques that was raised for N1.

15 billion, which gave room for double transaction," he said.

According to the chairman, 'agencies of government have been denying that they have received money from the Service Wide Votes," adding  "The Presidential Committee collected N865 million according to the records but it is denying.

" According to him, 'The National Arts Commission is said  to have been given N7.

1 billion but it is saying it collected only N2.
08 billion.