Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber, the Senate at the weekend, directed the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to refund N8.7 billion into the consolidated revenue fund (CRF) over alleged financial infractions committed by it between 2014 and 2015.
This followed the adoption of the 2015 Auditor-General of the Federation’s (AuGF) report that indicted the agency.
The BPE, according to the 2015 audit report sustained by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts and adopted by the upper chamber, allegedly committed a series of financial infractions between 2014 and 2015 financial years, totalling N8.7 billion in violation of several extant rules of financial regulations.
According to the Committee, one of such violations was the alleged non-remittance of N4.7 billion dividends received on federal government holdings which was not remitted to the CRF.
But in its response to the query, the BPE stated that all dividends received from the federal government’s holdings in the period under review totalling N6, 819, 388, 791 billion, were indeed transferred to treasury single account (TSA) in September 2015, an explanation that could not admitted by the Senate for alleged lack of documentary evidence.
The audit report adopted by the Senate read “The committee observed that there was no evidence provided by BPE to show that the dividend was remitted to TSA”. “Consequently, the committee recommends that the Bureau remits the sum of N4.74billion to the CRF, evidence of which must be submitted to the Auditor General of the Federation and Senate Public Accounts Committee.”
The Committee in a related query to the BPE sustained and adopted by the Senate, accused it of diverting N2.5 billion proceeds of defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) from Access and FCMB banks to now liquidated Aso Savings and Loans for financing of staff housing scheme, contrary to Financial Regulation 3205. “The committee observed that there was no approval from Debt Management Office (DMO) for the Bureau to secure a loan from ASO Savings just as it was also observed that there was collusion between ASO Savings and BPE,” the query and senate’s resolution noted.
“Consequently, the sum of N2.5 billion with all accrued interest be remitted to the CRF by BPE with evidence of remittance forwarded to the Auditor General of the Federation and Senate Public Accounts Committee.