Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate Committee on Public Accounts, yesterday, queried the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over an alleged unremitted $3.3 billion from the $21.3 billion collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Service ( FIRS) as foreign tax in 2015.
Trouble started when the CBN was queried by members of the Committee who said while FIRS recorded $21.3 billion as total sum of foreign tax collected in 2015 and domiciled in the apex bank, the CBN on the other hand recorded $18 billion.
On the strength of the query, the Committee led by Mathew Urhoghide, took up the CBN management to explain the shortfalls which its Deputy Governor ( Corporate Affairs ), Mr Edward Lamatek Adamu, couldn’t explain convincingly.
The Deputy Governor in his effort to convince the committee that the shortfall of $3.3 billion was not missing or unremitted, said variations in exchange rate during the time, resulted in the difference of amounts recorded by FIRS and CBN.
Dissatisfied with his explanation, the Committee ordered him and other top officials of the bank to report back on Monday with required documents on the alleged variations in exchange rate.
Addressing newsmen after the session, Urhoghide said: “While the record of FIRS showed $21.3 billion, the record of apex bank showed $18 billion.
“When the CBN was asked about why the differences in the amount, it hinged its argument on exchange rate variation following which, officials of the bank were directed to come up with supporting documents if they have any.
“There were 13 queries raised concerning CBN. Today, they have explained some while some are yet to be sufficiently explained, particularly the $3.3 billion difference it has from the $21.3 billion foreign taxes remitted by FIRS.”
Meanwhile, the Committee has slated next Tuesday for appearance of some other highly rated government establishments like the Nigerian Army , the Police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over alleged unaudited accounts over many years.