Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Senate has uncovered N34 billion allegedly placed in fixed deposit account by the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) management without remitting interest of N182 million.
The discovery by Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide was based on the 2016 Auditor General of the Federation’s (AuGF) report which is currently being considered by the Committee.
According to the report, the agency only remitted N82 million pocketing N100 million from the interest of N34 billion in various banks.
The query read: “At the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) Board, it was revealed that in 2015, the Board placed the sum of N34,003,057,534.22 in fixed deposit accounts in various banks which yielded interest in the sum of N182,400,810.74.” However, the Board remitted only the sum of N82,263,824.31 to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, leaving a balance of N100,136,986.43 unaccounted for. This act was in 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).”
PEF management, however, failed to appear before the Committee last week as there was no any letter to justify their absence at the Investigative hearing.