Senate probes PEF over non – remittance of interest from N34bn in FDA

The Senate through its Committee on Public Accounts, has beamed its searchlight on the N34billion lodged in Fixed Deposit Account ( FDA) by management of Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) , without remittance of accrued interest of N182million  into Consolidated Revenue Fund ( CRF) .
Non – remittance of interest from the N34billion placed in Fixed Deposit Account by management of PEF , came to the fore during consideration of query raised to that effect in the 2016 Audit Report by the office of Auditor General of the Federation.

In the report , management of PEF was alleged to have only remitted N82million out of N182million accrued interest in 2015  and allegedly pocketed N100million.
The query reads: “At the Petroleum  Equalization  Fund  (Management)  Board,  it  was  revealed  that  in 2015,  the  Board  placed  the  sum  of  N34,003,057,534.22  (Thirty-four  billion,  three  million, fifty-seven  thousand,  five  hundred  and  thirty-four  naira,  twenty-two  kobo)  in  fixed deposit  accounts  in  various  banks  which  yielded  interest  in  the  sum  of  N182,400,810.74 (One  hundred  and  eighty-two  million,  four  hundred  thousand,  eight  hundred  and  ten naira,  seventy-four  kobo). 

“However,  the  Board  remitted  only  the  sum  of N82,263,824.31  (Eighty-two  million,  two  hundred  and  sixty-three  thousand,  eight hundred  and  twenty-four  naira,  thirty-one  kobo)  to  the  Consolidated  Revenue  Fund, leaving  a  balance  of  N100,136,986.43  (One  hundred  million,  one  hundred  and  thirty-six thousand,  nine hundred and eighty-six  naira,  forty-three kobo)  unaccounted for. 

“This  act  is  a  contravention  of  the  provision  of  Financial  Regulation  222  which stipulates  that  “Interest  earned  on  bank  accounts  must  be  properly  classified  to  the appropriate  revenue head  of  Accounts and paid to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“The  Executive  Secretary  should  remit  the  outstanding  interest  yield  of N100,136,986.43  immediately  to  the  Consolidated  Revenue  Fund  and  furnish  evidence of  remittance  for  my  verification.  

“Failure  to  comply  should  attract  appropriate  sanctions in  line  with  Financial  Regulation  3112  which  stipulates  that  “where  an  officer  fails  to  give satisfactory  reply  to  an  audit  query  within  7  days  for  his  failure  to  account  for government  revenue,  such  officer  shall  be  surcharged  for  the  full  amount  involved  and such  officer  handed  over  to  either  the  Economic  and  Financial  Crimes  Commission (EFCC)  or  Independent  Corrupt  Practices  and  Other  Related  Offences  Commission (ICPC)”.

The Senate Committee had fixed Friday last week for Executive Secretary of PEF , Ahmed  Bobboi and top management staff to appear before it on the infraction but neither Bobboi nor any of his representatives appeared before the committee due to non existence of the agency any more .

Consequently, the Committeee chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide ( PDP Edo South), resolved that the new management of Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission is expected to respond to the allegation since federal government has scrapped Petroleum Equalisation Fund following the signing of Petroleum Industrial Act

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