By Chioma Iruke
The Nigerian Senate has asked the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to refund N8.7bn to the Consolidated Revenue Fund based on an audit query issued by the Office of Auditor General of the Federation (OAUGF).
The Committee on Public Accounts of the Senate had sustained the query contained in the 2015 report by the OAUGF, alleging that the BPE committed a series of financial infractions between 2014 and 2015 financial years totalling N8.76bn in violation of financial regulations.
The Senate had considered and adopted the recommendation by the committee.
One of such violations was the alleged non-remittance of N4.74bn dividends received on Federal Government holdings.
While the BPE, in its response to the query, said all dividends received on Federal Government holdings in the year under review totalling N6,819,388,791 were transferred to Treasury Single Account in September 2015, the committee disagreed due to the failure to back the claim with documentary evidence.
The report by the committee, as adopted by the Senate, partly 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 N4.74bn to the CRF, evidence of which must be submitted to the Auditor General of the Federation and Senate Public Accounts Committee,” it said.
Another audit query accused the BPE of diverting N2.5bn, proceeds of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, from Access Bank and First City Monument Bank to the now liquidated ASO Savings and Loans, to finance of staff housing scheme, contrary to Financial Regulation 3205.
The query read, “Unauthorised transfer of N2.5bn representing PHCN proceeds in Access Bank and FCMB accounts were diverted to ASO Savings and Loans Plc, as a condition precedent to the staff cooperative mortgage, contrary to Financial Regulation 3205.”
The committee also accused the BPE of not remitting N1.14bn earned interests on fixed deposits in various commercial banks.
The interest, as explained in the query and adopted report, was from N19.77bn deposited in various commercial banks, which the BPE management in its response, said was used to settle PHCN staff’s severance benefits.