The Senate has uncovered how N14.7bn proceed of defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was hidden in Commercial Banks by the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE).
The probe is carried out by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo South led Senate Committee on Public Accounts.
The Committee is relying on the report of 2017 Auditor General’s report to unravel the hidden proceed in commerical banks as at December 31, 2016 whereas the Privatization on PHCN has been concluded since 2013.
In its response to the report, the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) said, ” Two separate sums of N3.231,984.73 and N18.199,520.87 are unaudited bank balances that were actually no longer in existence as at the date of the audited financial statements or asked questions, the matter would have been clarified.
“With respect to the two other bank balances N4.4bn and N10.2bn in FCMB.
The correct balance in a Bank as at 31/12/16 was NIL as the bank had transferred a swelled balance of $34.1 million to the CBN domiciliary Account.
“The bank had initially been unable to make the transfer as at September 2015 as required under TSA policy, owing to the inexistence of designated USD Treasury Single Account for dollar balances.
“The Balance in a Bank as at 31/12/2016 was only $36,053.55 following a transfer of $65,088,198.53.
“The residual balance remained until 18/95/17 due to inability of the bank to remit as required under the TSA policy owing to initial unavailability of designated TSA for USD balances as required under the then newly introduced policy.”
The Query read. “Audit verification and reconciliation revealed that the sum of ₦14,720,396,432.43 (Fourteen billion, seven hundred and twenty million, three hundred and ninety-six thousand, four hundred and thirty-two naira, forty-three kobo), being proceeds from the privatization exercise of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was reported in the Bureau’s Trial Balance to be in Commercial Bank Accounts as at 31st December 2016.
“Whereas the privatization of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was concluded in 2013, the proceeds are yet to be remitted to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Privatization Proceeds Accounts.
“The issue has been communicated to the Bureau via letter reference No. OAuGF/RESAD/05/2016/07 dated 19th April, 2018 and no response has been received.
“Unauthorised funds kept in Commercial Banks may be diverted for other purposes, thereby leading to loss of Revenue available for Government programmes.
“The Director–General is required to recover the sum of ₦14,720,396,432.43 being proceeds of PHCN and remit same to CRF and forward evidence of remittance to my office for audit confirmation.”