FLASHBACK: Adeosun promptly denied giving N10b to legislators but keeps silent on certificate scandal

IT has been 31 days since it became public knowledge that Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, did not participate in the compulsory National Youth Service Corps scheme.

However, she allegedly presented a forged certificate of exemption  to qualify for her job.

One month has passed since the revelation but Adeosun has not uttered a word on the allegation. She has neither admitted wrongdoing nor apologised to Nigerians.  She has also not considered it necessary to defend her integrity.

Although she has stayed away from posting on the social media since the scandal broke, she has continued to perform her ministerial duties unrestrained and unchallenged. She has continued to partake in decision-making, and moderate high-level meetings.

Two and a half months before the minister was publicly accused of certificate forgery, Premium Times had levelled another charge against her but she responded quickly to the accusation then.

On Friday, April 20, 2018, Premium Times alleged that Adeosun “arbitrarily and illegally approved” the sum of N10 billion to members of the National Assembly, in connivance with Ahmed Idris, the Accountant General of the Federation. This money, the paper reported, was neither appropriated for the fiscal year nor was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“To take possession of the illegal N10billion cash given to them by Mrs. Adeosun, Messrs Saraki and Dogara submitted a list of 82 contractors which they claimed the National Assembly was owing and the amount due to each contractor,” Premium Times wrote.

“It was based on that single document that the cash management office at the finance ministry funneled the huge cash to the lawmakers. Mrs Adeosun failed to do further due diligence such as asking the lawmakers to provide award of contract letters, Certificates of No Objection issued by the Bureau of Public Procurement and job completion certificates issued by the National Assembly.

“Finance ministry insiders described the action as deceitful and illegal, saying since the National Assembly has its own budget, which is usually a first-line charge on the federal treasury, any other cash released to it is extra-budgetary and unlawful.”

Adeosun rushed to Twitter for a quick and strongly-worded rejoinder. That same Friday, she described the report as a “smear campaign” and said the writers displayed a worrisome ignorance of the modality of appropriation and finance.

She had tweeted: “My attention has been drawn to a smear campaign by an online medium, Premium Times, alleging “illegal sharing of N10 billion from the national treasury.”

    “The entire report is mischievous and made-up,” she added, “negates the ethics of journalism, and displays a worrying lack of understanding of Appropriation, Payments and Control. It should therefore be disregarded by the public.”

    “Let me make it clear that warrants are issued in accordance with Appropriation and after due approval by the Cash Plan Committee I chair.”

    In contrast to the swiftness which characterised the April reaction, Adeosun has kept mum over a hanging scandal about her NYSC certificate of exemption, proved to have been obtained unlawfully.

    While Adeosun’s rejoinder four months ago was prompt, she has not responded to the certificate scandal after more than 30 days.

    'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.

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