Home Nigeria Reps to probe CBN over ‘indiscriminate withdrawals’ from excess crude account

Reps to probe CBN over ‘indiscriminate withdrawals’ from excess crude account

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The house of representatives has resolved to investigate the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for alleged mismanagement of funds and non-disclosure of details of interest on investments from the excess crude oil/petroleum profits tax/royalty account.

The lower legislative chamber passed the resolution during plenary on Thursday, following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Esosa Iyawe, a Labour Party (LP) lawmaker from Edo.

While moving the motion, Iyawe said CBN is the banker to the federal government and custodian of investment vehicles, including the petroleum profits tax (PPT) and the excess crude account (ECA), among others.

The lawmaker expressed concern that the 2015 annual report of the auditor-general for the federation showed that an interest of $1,829,025.45 was deposited in the ECA as interest on investments.

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He, however, said there were no details as regards the principal sums deposited, the tenor and the interest rate.

“The House is also concerned that the CBN has flagrantly and consistently refused the requests by the Auditor General for the Federation to disclose the details regarding the management of interests accruing from the Petroleum Profit tax (PPT)/Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude Account,” Iyawe said.

“The House is further concerned about reports which revealed unapproved and indiscriminate withdrawals from the ECA, including current year expenditures, fuel subsidies, debt financing and power projects, all of which are outside the fund’s mandate.

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“The House is disturbed that the 2016 audit report revealed the disappearance of over $9.5 million interest accrued from the Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) Investment.

“The House is also disturbed that obscurity has consistently characterized the management of interests accruing on Federal Government investments, which is in contravention of the accountability principle, and points to misuse of much-needed government funds.”

He said the lack of transparency from the CBN has significantly affected the revenue accruable to the federation account, as well as undermined the federal government’s efforts to plug leakages, reduce corruption, and improve revenue.

To this end, the house urged the apex bank to “disclose without further delay, and following the required format, all the interests and principal sums on the investments in the excess crude oil/petroleum profits tax/royalty account to the auditor-general for the federation’s office”.

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The house resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to determine the legality of the ECA and investigate the status and management of all the principal sums deposited, tenor, and interest rate of the PPT/royalty and ECA from 2015 to date.

In his ruling, Benjamin Kalu, deputy speaker of the house of representatives, mandated the committee, when constituted, to ensure compliance.

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