by Ibrahim Faruk
The House of Representatives, yesterday constituted a special ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged disappearance of N2.1 billion from the vaults of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) in December 2012.
The Speaker of the House, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal at the resumption of parliamentary duties for 2013 assured that the House would use practical measures in the fight against the corruption menace in the country.
In his words,“We shall continue to adopt a pragmatic and functional approach to ensure that the war against corruption is removed from the realm of rhetoric by exercising absolute diligence in our oversight function so as to enhance transparency and accountability in both high and low places.”
Considering a motion sponsored by 61 members, the House in its plenary session decided to investigate the curious case of the missing N2.1 billion from the NSPMC’s vaults.
Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Hon. Albert Sam Tsokwa, who led the debate on the floor of the House, recalled how in December last year, the missing funds, made up of newly printed N1,000 notes mysteriously disappeared during production, adding that it was the second time such a large sum of money had allegedly disappeared from the company due to security breaches.
He said: “We are disturbed that there has been conflicting information on the actual amount of money declared missing. While the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it was about N2 billion, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) has claimed that the amount was N1.5 million and the media adviser to the managing director claimed that the actual amount missing was N900,000.”
“He also claimed that it was due to a security breach and that a security operative was arrested in Lagos with the said sum of N900,000. It is also important to point out that about 39 workers of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company were summarily dismissed from the establishment after news of the theft became public knowledge.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is the Chairman of the Board of the NSPMC, he reportedly
asked the Managing Director of the agency, Ehi Okomoyon, and its Head of Security, Emmanuel Bala, to go on compulsory leave pending investigations.
The security materials and documents printed by the NSPMC include among others, bank notes, coins, bank cheques and drafts, postal stamps, postal orders, treasury bills, passports, examination papers, certificates, licences, tickets, vouchers, diplomatic papers, customs, and immigration documents.
The House later adopted the motion and mandated the ad hoc committee to investigate the matter and make its findings known in four weeks.