Erstwhile minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, of displaying lack of understanding of the constitutional powers of a president regarding managing funds meant for security/intelligence agencies.
Reacting to publications in newspapers entitled ‘Diezani in trouble again over withdrawal of $1.3b from NNPC accounts,’ she pointed out that under Section 5 of the Constitution, all executive powers are vested in the President who may exercise it directly or through the Vice President or ministers of the federation.
Diezani, in a statement issued by her media aide, Clem Aguiyi, said the anti-graft agency ought to seek clarity about the process for release of funds requested by security/intelligence agencies. She argued that as minister of petroleum resources, she was an appointee and delegate of the President.
“At such instances, as the article clearly shows, a service chief or intelligence chief makes a written request/appeal to the President outlining whatever urgent and critical security needs of the nation they consider paramount at any given point in time.
“If such a request received the approval of the President, the President may direct that the requested funds be drawn from a security budget maintained by NNPC or that the funds be sourced from elsewhere. Where the President directs the minister of petroleum resources, in writing, to make the payment from the NNPC, the minister in turn, directs the GMD NNPC in writing to execute the directive of the President. NNPC then wires the funds from one of its major foreign bank accounts or from the CBN directly to the stipulated account of the particular branch of the armed services or intelligence unit or department that initiated the request. It is not within the power or discretion of any serving minister to question or disregard the written directive of a President, including that of the incumbent President.”
In the statement, the former minister averred that at no time did she or could she interfere with this process.
“It is, therefore, impossible and implausible for any monies under such presidential directives to be diverted during the process, at least from the standpoint of the minister. Any and all amounts approved and directed by Mr. President to be paid were executed exclusively by NNPC directly from NNPC’s foreign and/ or Central Bank of Nigeria accounts to the stated recipients.
“Therefore, let it be very clear that all funds disbursed by these banking institutions on behalf of NNPC are easily and openly traceable, and the process cannot and should not be utilised for the distortion of facts,” the statement read in part.