By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA—MEMBERS of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Safety and National Intelligence investigating sudden disappearance of $44 million from the vault of National Intelligence Agency, NIA, and true citizenship of its new Director-General, Rufai Abubakar, yesterday, confirmed that the money was still intact but was simply re-located for safe keeping.
The committee had last Thursday held a closed door session with major stakeholders to know the true situation of what actually transpired at the agency.
Recall that on resumption from the Yuletide break, the House on January 16 had resolved to probe the newly appointed Director-General and the alleged missing money .
The House also resolved to investigate Abubakar’s nationality, citizenship and competence, which came to question after his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The proposed probe was sequel to consideration and adoption of a motion under matters of urgent public importance, entitled: “Need to investigate the alleged carting away of $44 million from NIA and the issues surrounding the appointment of its new DG,” promoted by Diri Duoye (PDP, Bayelsa).
The Committee had grilled Abubakar for well over three hours over the alleged missing money and his true citizenship without press coverage.
Speaking to journalists on the outcome of their findings, Chairman of the Committee, Rep Aminu Sani Jaji, said: “We had a meeting too with the NSA today (last Thursday). We later discovered from our meeting since last week that the $44 million isn’t missing. For that one, I can tell you they moved the money from one place to another. We’re still investigating.
“If we get 60 to 70 per cent of what we’re supposed to get, then we can tell you. But for now, I’ll tell you categorically that the money isn’t missing. They only moved it from the agency to another place pending when all these issues surrounding the agency are resolved.
“If you remember, this $44 million is part of the $289 million approved to the then D-G, Ayo Oke. You know that in April last year, there was the issue of $43 million found in Ikoyi.
“He tried to say that the $44 million and the $43 million are part of the $289 million. But for us, we’re still working to see where the remaining $202 million was placed. We only know about the $43 million recovered in Ikoyi and the $44 million recovered from their vault.
“In the course of our investigation, we will come up with where the $289 million really is, not the $43 million and $44 million, but the entire amount.”
On citizenship status of Abubakar
On the citizenship status of Abubakar, Jaji explained that “well, you know, already there is an investigation going on before the committee. We started the investigation last week. In the course of the investigation, we invited the immediate past acting D-G of NIA. After that, we resolved to invite the present D-G, NIA.
“What we are doing is, since there are issues, not only the agency but also the citizens need to know. Did he work with NIA? The answer is yes, he did. Did he work up to the rank of a director? The answer is simply he worked with the agency and passed all the promotion exams.
“On the other issues, investigation is ongoing. You were not part of our meeting because of the sensitive nature of the matter, but we felt we need to inform you so that the tension in the country will reduce.
“Having interacted with him, we found out that already, there are allegations against him in the social media, about his person and what have you.
“By and large, the issue of saying there are some directors in the agency that are protesting his appointment as chairman, we didn’t receive any information in this regard.
“We tried to find out from the D-G and some staff working in the agency, and there’s no protest. For me, it’s just something anonymous, so there is none.”