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Customs admits non-existence of audited accounts

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Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts were stunned yesterday as they were informed that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had been operating without audited accounts.

The Comptroller General of Customs (CGS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.), who appeared before the Wole Oke-led committee, blamed the refusal by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to approve the engagement of external auditors for the ugly development.

The lawmakers are probing into various audit queries raised against NCS between 2013 and 2014 financial years, including the missing N14.8 billion from the coffers of the service in 2013.

Ali, who was represented by a comptroller of the service, said: “I want to tell this honourable committee that as we speak, the service has no audited accounts because we have no approval from the BPP to engage external auditors

“We just got this approval recently and the external auditors sent a draft copy on the 2013 financial year to us just last week. We wrote several letters to the BPP on this until we got the nod, it is not our own making.”

Oke, who was visibly taken aback over the startling revelation, cautioned the customs chief to mind know that he was on oath, hence he should be sure of his utterances before the parliament.

Ali declared in affirmative, adding that the service was ready to come before the committee with all relevant documents.

Consequently, the committee summoned the officials of the BPP to appear before it tomorrow to respond to the claims of the NCS.

It also summoned the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emeifele, to appear before it tomorrow over the missing N14.8 billion, contained in the query raised by the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) on the 2013 financial year.

Ali told the committee that prior to the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), 28 commercial banks were collecting revenue for the service.

The committee also directed the CBN governor to come before it with the NCS statement of accounts in the period under review, with a view to tracking down the missing money.


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