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Senate alleges irregularities in FG’s N1.1tn investments in UK firm, others

The Senate says it has uncovered irregularities in the Federal Government’s investments in Crown Agents Bank and some other financial institutions amounting to N1.1tn.

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

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts had uncovered the irregularities while the parliament had considered and adopted its report in July before embarking on two-month annual recess.

The committee’s report was based on the 2015 audit report by the Auditor General of the Federation.

The panel accused the Accountant General of the Federation of failing to present a share certificate to authenticate the genuineness of the Federal Government’s N46bn investments in Crown Agents Bank and financial institutions in Nigeria.

According to the panel, the accountant-general also failed to provide for audit, the written authority for the disposal of the sum of N134.3bn and the account into which the proceeds were credited.

According to the committee’s report, there were also no additional investments in the power sector during the year under review, as against the N547.8bn being the opening balance in the National Integrated Power Project at the beginning of 2015.

The report stated that Crown Agents disposed of investments totalling N3bn, while additional investments amounting to N439.7bn were also acquired during the year under review without documentary evidence.

The report also said it discovered that about N239bn investment was an overcast recorded in the 2014 investment.

It partly read, “It was observed that the Federal Government of Nigeria had additional investment in the sum of N46.3bn and total disposal of investment of N134.3bn as at year ended, 2015.

“The shares certificate to authenticate the genuineness of the additional investment of N46.3bn was not produced for audit.

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

“There was no additional investment in the power sector during the year under review as against the N547bn opening balance of investment in the National Integrated Power Project at the beginning of 2015.

“The Accountant-General of the Federation 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 certificate of all the additional investment for audit verification.”

Responding, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation stated that ‘the investment of N10bn and N16.8bn in Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc and Galaxy Backbone Plc respectively did not occur in 2015 but were investments omitted from previous statements, while the investment of N20bn in Development Bank of Nigeria was a new Federal Government of Nigeria investment.

The committee, chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, however, rejected the explanation of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation as it was unable to produce a share certificate.

Consequently, the committee asked the accountant-general to provide the shares certificate to the auditor-general within 60 days.

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