The Federal Ministry of Finance yesterday denied making secret withdrawals from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) without the knowledge of state governments.
It was reacting to Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi who claimed at the weekend in Sokoto that $5 billion was missing from the account.
In a statement in Abuja yesterday, the ministry said the monies were shared over a period of months among the three tiers of government with the express approval of state governors.
"Governor Amaechi... has been closely involved and actively participated in making requests to the Presidency for the ECA to be shared for the purpose of augmenting the regular allocations from the Federation Account whenever there is a shortfall," the statement said.
"The $5 billion in the ECA which Governor Amaechi referred to in his statement has been shared to the three tiers of government to make up for the revenue shortfalls during the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee process. Part of this fund also went for SURE-
P payments and the balance for subsidy payments to oil marketers."
It said Rivers State received N56.2 billion, the second highest share among the states, for January to September from the account.
"It is therefore curious that Governor Amaechi seems not to know the whereabouts of the N56.2 billion which Rivers State has received from the ECA this year," the ministry said.
Amaechi had also accused Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of refusing to sign the African Development Bank (ADB) loan for a water project in Port Harcourt.