By Uche Amunike
The Senate has called for the sanction of officials in the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation through whom Nigeria lost N54.1billion which is an equivalent of $274.2m on external loans.
The Upper Chamber approved the submission made by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts before proceeding and their annual vacation last week
Resolution decided by the Senate was that the Accountant General of the Federation will fish out the particular officers involved in the mismanagement of the funds and have them sanctioned in accordance with rule 3115 of the Financial Regulations and for gross misconduct.
Rule 3115 of the Financial Regulations reads: ‘An accounting officer who is queried for his failure to manage or spend public funds, effectively or who spends public money without due regard to economy contrary to Financial Regulation 415 and fails to reply to the query, shall be removed from the schedule and be disciplined in accordance with the Public Service Rules.’
The Auditor-General of the Federation’s query titled: ‘Inconsistent Exchange Loss Difference on External Loans reads: ‘During the examination of Note 51 and Appendix to Note 52, it was observed that there was a total exchange loss difference of $278.2 million (N54.1billion) reported by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation in the document provided but this could not be found in the DMO (Debt Management Office) document.’
‘Also, the criteria for arriving at the exchange loss difference of $274.2 million (N54.1billion) was not disclosed.’
‘The Accountant-General of the Federation in his response maintained that the closing balance is as provided
by DMO while the exchange difference of $274.2 million (N54.1bn) was as a result of multiple currencies that were involved and single exchange rate.’
‘The Accountant-General of the Federation is (therefore) required to provide the source(s) of the exchange loss difference of $274.2 million (N54.1billion) with documentary evidence.’
‘Provide the calculations showing how these figures were arrived at and the reasons for the exchange loss for each of the figures should be explained. Disclose the source of exchange difference in a note.’
The Upper Chamber after the presentation of the report of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts by Senator Matthew Urhoghide upheld in its resolution, the recommendation of the committee, asking that officials involved in the transaction be sanctioned.
The query is contained in the 2015 report of the Auditor-General of the Federation on the financial statements of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the federation account.
In another development, the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Wednesday, queried the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, over an alleged missing $3.3 billion approximated at N1.2 trillion.
The amount was said to be unaccounted for from the $21.3 billion remitted to the apex bank by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, as foreign tax in 2015
The query, which was sent by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation to the Senate committee reads that while the FIRS recorded $21.3 billion as the amount collected as following tax in 2015 from the CBN, the CBN recorded it is $18billion.
However, the Deputy Governor of the Apex bank, Edward Adamu claimed that the differences in the figures were due to the charges in exchange rate.
‘The $3.3 billion is neither missing nor unremitted, but the difference is due to variations of exchange rate during time,’ he explained.
The committee disputed this.
Committee Chairman, Matthew Urhogide has mandated the CBN to reappear next Monday with documents showing in detail, the said variations in exchange rate.