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PTDF: Okonjo-Iweala approved $20m deposit in TIB, says Usman

Posted by Daily Independent on 2007/03/28 | Views: 933 |

PTDF: Okonjo-Iweala approved $20m deposit in TIB, says Usman


Council (FEC), and if and when the exigency of any situation for which the expenditure is required cannot await the meeting of the FEC, Mr. President can give and does give anticipatory approval which will later be presented for ratification by the FEC.

Council (FEC), and if and when the exigency of any situation for which the expenditure is required cannot await the meeting of the FEC, Mr. President can give and does give anticipatory approval which will later be presented for ratification by the FEC.

"It is therefore preposterous for any one to say or insinuate that the President gave oral or verbal approval for the placement of a staggering amount of $20 million in the defunct Trans International Bank.


"The President does not dictate nor approve placing of the funds of government in commercial banks. This is done by either the Ministry of Finance or the accountant general of the federation."


Usman explained that the authentication of Atiku’s mandate to the CBN by Okonjo-Iweala was in line with the procedure of treating PTDF expenditure approvals emanating from the vice president.


According to her, expenditure or transfer of funds from the PTDF account in the CBN requires the issuance of an authentication after issuing a mandate to the CBN governor because the payment is in a foreign currency, that is, dollar.


"The authentication is usually signed in person by the Minister of Finance. Also, whenever (Atiku) sends an approval to the Ministry of Finance in respect of the agencies under his office, the Minister of Finance does not look beyond it since she can safely take it that (Atiku) had observed all laid down procedure before issuing such approval.


"It will be a mark of disrespect to the Office of the Vice President for the Minister of Finance to demand for the basis of his authority whenever he approves the disbursement of funds in respect of the agencies under his office."


She insisted that the original authority for the lodgement of the $20 million in TIB came from Atiku and was conveyed to the CBN via a mandate.


"The CBN then requested for the confirmation/authentication of the mandate at the point of executing the mandate. Such a confirmation had to be personally signed by the Minister of Finance. Confirmation of a mandate has nothing to do with the President.


"I wish to state that the confirmation of a mandate to CBN by the Minister of Finance is an anti-fraud measure between the Ministry of Finance and the CBN, and not a proof of Mr. President’s consent to a transfer or expenditure of any fund."


Usman said the $20 million had been transferred some 10 months before Obasanjo insisted on July 5, 2005 that his express endorsement was necessary for any expenditure to be incurred from the account.


"The President’s directive, rather than serving as a sweeping endorsement of (Atiku’s) handling of the PTDF account, was an indictment, because (Obasanjo) by his letter sought to ensure that the funds were used for the purposes for which the PTDF was established and hence, his directive for his endorsement."


In a related development, there were indications at the weekend of a plot to impose an Interim National Government (ING) headed by Senate President, Ken Nnamani, based on the Senate Review Committee’s report on the PTDF.


Some Northern elements had concluded plans to ensure that both Obasanjo and Atiku do not benefit from a situation where the elections do not hold, and the only neutral person they believe is fit to conduct the ballot is Nnamani, who is from the South East.


National Assembly sources confirmed that the ground work for the ING plot was to have been perfected in the Senate last week with the assurance that the committee’s report would be debated.


One said: "In the likely scenario that the elections do not hold, the report is the trump card. You don’t play your trump card first. It is the last card that would be played in the emerging scenario. Both Obasanjo and the opposition parties do not want the elections to hold anyway. Maybe Nigerians have forgotten, but who created the scenario for all these court cases in the first place?


"The ING plot is real. One leg of the plot was the visit of a coalition of nine political parties to Nnamani last week. Debating the report and the subsequent indictment of Obasanjo was also another angle that was supposed to follow the visit. If senators had had their way last Wednesday and the report had been debated, there was already a consensus among the opposition that the Senate should return a vote of no confidence in both Obasanjo and Atiku.


"The plan leaked to the Obasanjo camp in the Senate which nipped it in the bud and insisted on the Senate going on recess that same day, instead of March 22.


"Nnamani insisted at a meeting that he would not be used to scuttle the elections. He has consistently told both his colleagues and those outside the Senate that he is committed to the elections. Anything short of that, he would not accept. He is concerned along two major lines: Is it realistic to move against Obasanjo and Atiku at this point in time? If the Senate moves against both men, what would happen to the elections?"


It was also learnt that the North stated at separate meetings that it is not disposed to Obasanjo holding the elections, and would rather want both himself and Atiku out of Aso Rock.


The region has vowed not allow Obasanjo to continue in office beyond May 29 and insisted that Atiku would not be in the Villa because one of their own cannot conduct an election that would usher in the next President.


However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday night castigated the opposition for advocating an ING, saying holding the polls is irrevocable.


Its National Publicity Secretary, John Odey, took a swipe at the statement credited to AACO Director General, Iyorchia Ayu, that Nigeria is heading for anarchy similar to what happened over the elections on June 12, 1993.


He pledged that attempts by opposition parties to abort the elections would be resisted by the PDP.

He came down heavily on Ayu, saying: "It is very unfortunate that such a remark is being made by those who misled the late Presidential candidate, Moshood Abiola and later conspired to scuttle June 12 in 1993.

"For the avoidance of doubt, such a thing will never, never happen again in this country because the PDP-led Federal Government has done much to lay a solid foundation for uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria.

"The ruling PDP will therefore expect nothing short of a democratically elected government in May 2007, contrary to what Ayu and his group who are groping in the dark are expecting. The PDP has been in the field campaigning and these other people are just sitting there looking for some manna."

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