Joseph Inokotong, Abuja
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and Aso Savings and Loans (ASL) may be heading on a collision course over N2.5 billion the Bureau placed in the mortgage bank for staff housing.
Trouble started on February 25, 2014, when the BPE made a placement of N2.5 billion in an account with the ASL to enable its staff access cheap fund for housing but it turned out that the staff could not get the required funding.
When the Federal Government on September 14, 2015, directed that all funds held with commercial banks be transferred to the Treasury Single Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the BPE discovered that ASL could not meet its deposit repayment obligations.
Subsequently, an agreement was reached between the BPE and ASL on how the money should be refunded, yet despite the arrangement, ASL has defaulted till date.
Head of Public Communications, BPE, Amina Othman said: “On Feb. 25, 2014, the BPE got the approval of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) to establish a banking relationship with ASL.
“Subsequently, the bureau made a placement in the sum of N2.5 billion in the account to facilitate access to cheap finance for its staff housing scheme but the staff were not able to access the money.
“Following the Federal Government’s directive on Sep 14, 2015, that all funds held with commercial banks be transferred to the Bureau’s Treasury Single Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, it was discovered that ASL could not meet its deposit repayment obligations.”
The BPE’s Head of Public Communications added that as a result, “ASL proposed a repayment plan of property swap valued at N1.52 billion on Oct. 18, 2016.”
She explained that under the arrangement, ownership of some completed property that was ready for sale would be ceded to the BPE in partial satisfaction of the stranded deposits and cash repayment of N1.25 billion.
She said this entailed a bullet transfer of N70 million per month until the amount was extinguished.
However, Othman said that in spite of the arrangement, “ASL defaulted in meeting its obligations under the agreement”.
She said the “BPE had made several demands to ASL which had remained elusive till date.
“It should be noted that some of ASL property that are habitable have been sold and the money received and paid into government treasury”.
The BPE said its officials did not divert N2.5 billion from Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to buy property in Aso Savings and Loans (ASL).
“From the foregoing, there is nowhere that BPE officials diverted any fund or proceeds from the PHCN.
“The alleged diversion is, therefore, a figment of the imagination of the writers of the reports,” she said.
Othman, therefore, appealed to the general public to discountenance the reports in their entirety.