Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Following the decision of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to impose N47.6 million fine on the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in December 2016 for failing to submit its audited financial reports, the company has said it will by the end of February, submit the audited books for the years 2005 to 2014.
According to TCN, an audit firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which it had commissioned to undertake the audit has made tremendous progress with the audit work, and would complete it by the month end for submission to NERC.
TCN’s former acting Managing Director, Dr. Abubakar Atiku stated this in Abuja during a press briefing.
He disclosed that while the company had been consistent with the internal auditing of its account, it had however not opened its books to external auditors since 2005.
According to him, the volume of work involved in the audit by PwC meant that it would take time to conclude it. He explained that the company presented this peculiar challenge to the NERC and asked for more time to conclude but added that the commission still slammed it with a fine.
“Under our watch, the TCN in compliance with world best practice and Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), is for the first time being audited by reputable external audit firm. The audit report in TCN’s performance from 2005 to 2014 would be ready before the end of February,” said Atiku.
He further explained: “Like I said before now, we have genuine reasons for not complying with NERC’s request. We have not had an external audit on TCN for a long time, even though there are internal audits and we took a bold step to provide this audited report and engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers, a reputable company, to do this.
“The job is voluminous because there are so many books and papers that have be looked at by the auditor. You can imagine the level of data and documents they have to look at in other to provide these audit reports which is not just one year.”
“So, we are doing it and in line with international financial reporting system which most of the companies in this sector did not do, and based on that, the audit needs time. We informed the regulator that this is the reason why we have not filed the report but they went ahead to fine us, and we will appeal that,” Atiku added.
While reacting to denials by some electricity distribution companies (Discos) that they do not reject loads allocated to them by the System Operations (SO) department of TCN, Atiku said the company has proof of such practices to validate its claims.
According to him, NERC has queried TCN to substantiate its claims, adding that the company has its proof.
“Our frequency indicator shows this, we will make the evidence available to NERC when called up,” he added.