The Senate Committee on Public Accounts on Wednesday was stunned as the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris told the lawmakers that only the national oil giant, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) could give an account of how N443 billion was paid as petroleum subsidy without appropriation by the National Assembly.
The Account General of the Federation was invited sequel to the query issued by the Auditor General of the Federation Office in its 2016 report.
The query read in part: “During the examination of Subsidy records provided by FAAC, it was observed that total subsidy paid during the year 2016 was N443,940,559,974.80.
“Oil Marketers- Arrears for 2014 Paid in 2015 -Payments during The Year 2016 without Interest 403,321,449,046.76 Interest & Forex Differential 40,619,110,928.04 totalling N443,940,559,974.80 Subsidy Deducted at Source By NNPC.
“This reflects continuing weaknesses in the budgeting process adopted by the Federal Government.”
The Committee also summoned the Governor of Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele to appear before it over the disappearance of $9.5 million interest from Investment Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude.
The Auditor General’s report had accused the apex bank of failing to present documents supporting the investment for verification.
The Senate in its observation expressed disappointment that no letter backed the investment of the fund and the actual amount invested was not made known.
The query reads in part: “During the examination of transfers to Forefinger Excess PPT/Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude Accounts it was observed that during the year 2016, amount totalling $6 million and $3.5 million were credited to the Foreign PPT/Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude Account as interest on Funds investments.
“The authority for placing the funds which yielded the above interests totalling $9.5 in deposit account, the principal sums deposited, the tenor and rate of interest were not made available for audit verification.
“This observation had also been a subject of my reports since 2017 without any positive response from the Central Bank of Nigeria
“Records made available for audit further revealed that the balance in the foreign PPT/Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude accounts as at 28th December 2016 were USD0.00 and USD, 251,826 respectively
“This suggests the foreign PPT/Royalty was depleted before the year ended.
“The Accountant General has been requested to provide the authority for the funds invested, the tenor of the investment, rate unrest payable, a certificate for the funds invested and forward the same for audit verification.”
When asked by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, to provide documents on the issue raised by his Committee, the Accountant General could not provide any documentation.
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