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Senate uncovers irregularities in N1.1tr FG investments at financial institutions

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Lawan. Photo: TWITTER/DRAHMADLWAN/TOPEBROWN

Gives accountant general 69 days to provide share certificates

The Senate has uncovered irregularities in N1.1 trillion Federal Government investments in Crown Agents Bank and other financial institutions.

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Crown Agents Bank is a United Kingdom (UK) regulated provider of wholesale foreign exchange and cross-border payment services connected across the frontier and emerging markets.

The report, adopted by the Senate, last month, before it proceeded on recess, had accused the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) of failing to present share certificates to authenticate the genuineness of the Federal Government’s investments in Crown Agents Bank and financial institutions in Nigeria.

The 2015 audit report unravelled irregularities that arose from the failure of the AGF to provide share certificates that would have authenticated the genuineness of N46 billion investment and written authority for the disposal of N134.3 billion.

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Also, the report indicated that there were no additional investments in the power sector during the year under review, as against N547.8 billion being the opening balance in the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) at the beginning of 2015.

It stated that Crown Agents disposed of off investments totaling N3 billion while additional investments of N439.7 billion were also acquired during the year under review without documentary evidence.

The account where the proceeds of the disposal of the sum of N3 billion were credited was not provided for audit confirmation. It was discovered that about N239 billion in investment was overcast recorded in the 2014 investment.

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The audit report reads: “It was observed that the Federal Government of Nigeria had an additional investment in the sum of N46.3 billion and total disposal investment of N134.3 billion as at year ended 2015. The share certificates to authenticate the genuineness of the additional investment of N46.3 billion were not also provided for audit.

“Also, there was no written authority for the disposal of the sum of N134.3 billion, as the account into which the proceeds were credited was not provided for audit confirmation.

“There were no additional investments in the power sector during the year under review as against the N547 billion being the opening balance of investment in the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) at the beginning of 2015.

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“The AGF was required by the Auditor General to provide the authorities for all the additional and disposal of investment during the year under review and provide the share certificates of all the additional investment for audit verification.”

The office of the AGF in its response, however, said: “The investment of N10 billion and N16.8 billion in Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc and Galaxy Backbone Plc, respectively, did not occur in the year 2015 but were investments omitted from previous statements while the investment of N20 billion in Development Bank of Nigeria was a new Federal government of Nigeria investment.

“The additional investment of N160 million in Infrastructure Bank was as a result of the subscription of Right Issue declared by the Bank.”

But the committee, chaired by Senator Urhoghide, rejected the explanation of the AGF. Based on the committee’s presentation, the Senate, therefore, ordered the office of the AGF to provide share certificates to the Auditor General for audit within 69 days.

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