…How the Senate Uncovered N45billion Allocated to a Non-Existent Agency
Forget the pious posturing and puritanical pretensions of Okechukwu Enelamah, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Senate has just laid bare the fact that he is not any ideologically different from the average Nigerian politician whose stock-in-trade is dipping their hands flagrantly in the till to the detriment of the citizenry.
Last Monday, during the budget defence of the ministry by the Senate Committee on Industry, Trade and Investment, N42billion was discovered to have been appropriated for the Nigeria Special Economic Zone which is not known to be one of the 17 agencies under the ministry. Asked to explain the owners of the company, the minister listed the Federal Government and other shareholders. He said, “One of the areas that this government has focused on is infrastructure.
The second area is industrialisation and the two have something in common. If the government tries to do it alone, it would be extremely tasking. So the president directed that we should bring other partners that can combine with whatever monies we have to build world-class infrastructure which led to the establishment of the company in partnership with other investors.”
Having done its due diligence before the budget defence, the committee chairman, Senator Sabo Mohammed, faulted the minister’s claim, noting that a document obtained by the committee from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) containing the company’s registration details showed its name is Nigeria Sez Investment Company Limited and not Nigeria Special Economic Zone Company listed in the documents presented by the Minister.
Senator Mohammed disclosed further that those designated as the company’s directors are Dr Bakari Wadinga, Mr Olufemi Edun and Ms Oluwadara Owoyemi who hold 75 per cent equity while the federal government has 25 per cent share in the firm. To what purpose then was N42billion proposed as budgetary allocation to it?
Like a common thief caught in the act, Enelamah made spirited attempts to wriggle out of the embarrassing quagmire but failed spectacularly. The committee said it did not believe that the federal government had a hand in the company and that if it actually did, “the process of establishing it is ‘misnomer and nothing but financial ambush to Nigeria.’ The committee mandated Enelamah to forward a detailed written explanation on how the company got into the appropriation list, its management staff, list of its staff and statement of account, before the ministry’s 2019 budget proposal could be considered.
Close watchers of the unfolding debacle are shocked that Enalamah, a Pastor and one of the poster boys of President Muhammadu Buhari’s much-vaunted integrity administration can be caught in such despicable act of national treachery. For emphasis, Enelamah is not a pastor by mere sloganeering; he took over from Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as Pastor of the Redeemed Church’s Olive Tree Parish in Banana Island.
The church prides itself as ‘a place where professionals, entrepreneurs and politicians are transformed and empowered to take their place in the nation and in the world and one where purpose is discovered, vision is received and destiny fulfilled.’Enelamah, a medical doctor, was the only candidate nominated by Osinbajo as Minister in 2015.
Culled – www.thecapital.ng