N24bn Pension Fund Not Missing —Finance Ministry
The Federal Ministry of Finance has said contrary to media reports, the sum of N24 billion is not missing from the Police Pension Fund,
In a statement issued from the ministry on Wednesday, the statement recalled that the account was frozen and the money returned to the treasury because it was an over estimation of the pension arrears .
“As the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the Senate Joint Committee on Pensions Administration at a public hearing in March 2012, she ordered the account frozen to prevent fraud based on reports of suspicious transactions,” the ministry said.
The statement affirmed that “of the amount in the account, N24 billion was discovered to be an over-estimation of pensions arrears. The money was subsequently returned to government coffers as is the standard practice,” the statement signed by the media adviser to the finance minister, Paul Nwabuiko noted.
Finance Ministry to Publish Agencies' Appropriations
The Federal Ministry of Finance has denied withholding appropriations of federal ministries and agencies as it pioneered publication of allocations of all tiers of government since the inception of the administration
In a statement issued in response response to media reports and enquiries regarding a recent court judgment involving the Federal Ministry of Finance, the ministry said “contrary to some media reports, it did not reject any requests for information from civil society groups on appropriations and statutory transfers.
“It is public knowledge that the ministry has consistently implemented a policy of transparency and accountability in the management of the economy and public finances. This is demonstrated in the monthly publication of allocations to the three tiers of government, regular updates on the status of funding of SURE-P programmes, payments to oil marketers for verified imports of petroleum products as well as other information”, the statement clarified .
The ministry said it has no reason to reject any legitimate requests for information on allocations to any government ministry or agency, adding that “in obedience to the recent court judgement, the ministry, through the Budget Office of the Federation, is collating the details of appropriations and statutory transfers to the National Assembly, the Independent National Electoral Commission, National Judicial Council, the Niger Delta Development Commission, Universal Basic Education and National Human Rights Commission for publication.
“These agencies are all on first-line charge to the Federation Account and therefore the ministry must work with them to obtain the necessary information”, the statement said.
On the issue of ghost workers,the statement said “the implementation of IPPIS, about 45,000 names of ghost workers have been taken off the payroll and about N118 billion saved,adding that “the ministry has taken the additional step of referring the issue to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for further investigation so that any identified culprits can face the full wrath of the law.
“It is also important to provide some clarification on the allegation that the Budget Office of the Federation and other agencies have the highest proportion of ghost workers in the country. This is an obvious misrepresentation of facts. The Budget Office was one of the pioneer agencies on the IPPIS platform since 2006 and through biometrics and other processes, ghost workers have been eliminated from its payroll for about seven years now. The failure to give a time frame to this allegation was obviously done in bad faith to give a negative impression.
The Federal Ministry of Finance will, in line with its statutory mandate and international best practice, continue to manage the finances of the country transparently and accountably.