Senate Queries BPE Over Alleged N14.7billon
The Bureau of Public Enterprises BPE is facing a query at the Upper chamber’s Senate Committee on Public Accounts over alleged N14.7billion privatisation proceeds from the defunct Power Holding of Nigeria (PHCN).
The amount was alleged to have been hidden in a commercial bank account by the Bureau of Publ(BPE)
The hidden proceeds was said to have been discovered by the Office of Auditor General of the Federation.
Sequel to that,the Auditor General of the Federation had in the 2017 Audit Report issued a query and being investigated by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts.
The auditor general in the report alleged that as at 31st December, 2016, BPE in separate accounts in Fidelity and Stanbic IBTC Banks, warehoused a total of N14.7billion as part of proceeds from PHCN Privatisation which was carried out in 2013.
The query reads: “Audit verification and reconciliation revealed that the sum of N14, 720,396,432.43 (Fourteen billion, seven hundred and twenty million, three hundred and ninety-six thousand, four hundred and thirty-two naira, forty-three kobo), being proceeds from the privatization exercise of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was reported in the Bureau’s Trial Balance to be in Commercial Bank Accounts as at 31st December 2016
“Whereas, the privatization of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was concluded in 2013, the proceeds are yet to be remitted to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Privatization Proceeds Accounts.
“The issue has been communicated to the Bureau via letter reference No. OAuGF/RESAD/05/2016/07 dated 19th April, 2018 and no response has been received.
“Unauthorised funds kept in Commercial Banks may be diverted for other purposes, thereby leading to loss of Revenue available for Government programmes. The Director–General is required to recover the sum of N14,720,396,432.43 being proceeds of PHCN and remit same to CRF and forward evidence of remittance to my office for audit confirmation.”
BPE while reacting to the allegation in written response attached to the query and submitted to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, said: ” Two separate Sums of N3.231, 984.73 (allegedly held in Fidelity Bank Plc) and N18.199, 520.87 (reporter as held in Stanbic Bank PLC) are unaudited bank balances that were actually no longer in existence as at the date of the audited financial statements or asked questions, the matter would have been clarified.
“With respect to the two other banks balances N4.4bn (Access Bank PLC) and N10.2bn in FCMB -:
“The correct balance in Access Bank as at 31/12/16 was nil as the bank had transferred a swelled balance of $34.1 million to the CBN domiciliary Account.
“The bank had initially been unable to make the transfer as at September 2015 as required under TSA policy, owing to the inexistence of designated USD Treasury Single Account for dollar balances.
“The Balance in the FCMB Bank as at 31/12/2016 was only $36,053.55 following a transfer of $65,088,198.53.
“The residual balance remained until 18/95/17 due to inability of the bank to remit as required under the TSA policy owing to initial unavailability of designated TSA for USD balances as required under the then newly introduced policy. “
The Senate Committee which was not satisfied with the BPE’s response has ordered its clerk to invite Bureau’s Director General on Thursday to come and defend the query.