You Must Account For Interest On N34bn In Fixed Deposit, Senate Tells PEF

Samuel Ogidan, Abuja

The upper chamber of the National Assembly has told the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) now Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NPRA), that it must give account on interest accrued to the N34 billion placed in a fixed deposit.

The Senate had accused the agency of not remitting fully the interest accrued from the N34 billion in fixed deposit account.

But, the Agency claimed to have remitted the interest to the Federation Account in a letter to the Committee.

Addressing newsmen on the issue, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Account, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, said that the agency must present evidence of remitting N182 million accrued from N34 billion placed in the fixed deposit.

He added that whether the agency changes name or not, it must appear before the Committee and account for interest accrued on the N34 billion in the fixed deposit account.

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He said: “PEF must account for the outstanding of N100 million that is remaining in the interest accrued to N34 billion placed in the fixed deposit account or else the Committee will sustain the position of Auditor General’s of the Federation against the agency.

The query reads: “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).

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“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.

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“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).”

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