The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said it was strange for the Governors Forum to allege that 20 billion dollars were missing from the Excess Crude Account (ECA).
This is contained in a statement issued by Paul Nwabuikwu, spokesman for the Minister, in Abuja on Tuesday.
The statement said there was no basis for the forum to demand that the minister should account for such money from June 2013 to April 2015.
“The statement by the governors is totally strange because Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), meets every month and the ECA is discussed at every session with all the state commissioners of finance present. Nothing is hidden. At these meetings, the Minister of State who is the Chairman of FAAC, announces the balance in the ECA which is then discussed.
“So, governors who want any information about the ECA should ask for details from their commissioners who should have the records of what was discussed and agreed upon”, read the statement in part.
According to the statement, details of the ECA are also published every month along with the allocations to the three tiers of government.
It added that the reference to June 2013 was immaterial as FAAC meetings during which the ECA and similar issues were discussed held every month.
The statement said Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, who was reported to have read the communique on behalf of the governors, made a similar unsubstantiated allegation in Nov. 2013.
According to the statement, he alleged that in November 2013, 5 billion dollars went missing from the ECA.
“We subsequently showed with facts that not only was the amount not missing, Rivers received N257.6 billion from the Federation Account between January and October 2013.”
Verbiage in the statement also gave an assurance that ministry of finance in the interest of transparency and accountability would publish the details of the ECA for the last four years in a couple of days.