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Ministry of Finance, National Assembly Deny Whereabouts Of N9.1 billion Legislative Aides’ Gratuity

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Ministry of Finance, National Assembly Deny Whereabouts Of N9.1 billion Legislative Aides’ Gratuity

According to the Sun Newspaper’s report of December 22, 2019, the whereabouts of N9.1 billion meant to pay severance gratuity of legislative aides of the 8th National Assembly is currently unknown six months after leaving the office.

“The amount, according to National Assembly records, was also to cover allowances for the aides of the current assembly.

“But 3,466 legislative aides were computed to collect the severance gratuity, while the exact figure of the new aides was not available, ” the news tabloid wrote in its investigative report.

The newspaper gathered that the amount was to be sourced from the Service Wide votes, according to the 2019 Appropriation Act but inquiry from the Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly Accounts department showed that none of the government body can say categorically the whereabouts of the money.

National Assembly Director of Information, Dan Zaria confirmed on Friday, December 20, 2019, that the money was not near the Assembly.

“The money has not come, it is not true that the money is here. There is no money that will enter the National Assembly that people will not know.

“Look at their number, they are more than 3,000, some of them have friends in our Finance and Accounts Directorate. If such money has entered, you will see documents flying all over because one person would make a photocopy of it and spread it all over,” he stated.

But when the Ministry of Finance was contacted, there was no definite answer that money for payment of severance gratuity to former legislative aides had been released.

The first reaction from the Ministry was to refer the newspaper to the National Assembly to know if the money was with them or not.

But 24 hours later, Special Adviser to the Minister on Media, Mr Tanko Abdulahi said that he was not aware of the issue.

“I just arrive at the airport, I can’t comment on such issue, I don’t even know what you are talking about, but the National Assembly should be able to provide you an answer,” he said.

While the severance of the aides of the 8th Assembly has not been paid six months after completing their tenure, the aides of the 9th Assembly are also hoping their six months salary will be paid before the beginning of a new budget circle.

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