From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate has uncovered how the management of Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) allegedly placed N34 billion in a fixed deposit account without remitting interests of N182 million.
The agency only remitted N82 million and pocketed N100 million.
The discovery by Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) was part of the 2016 Auditor-General’s report which is being considered by the committee.
However, the management of PEF declined to appear before the committee which was scheduled for last Wednesday without any letter to justify its absence at the investigative hearing.
The new management of Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission is expected to respond to the allegation since the Federal Government has scrapped PEF following the signing of Petroleum Industrial Bill into law.
The query read: “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).”