Senate Uncovers Irregularities in FG’s N1.1tn Investments in Financial Institutions
The upper legislative chamber has uncovered irregularities in the N1.1trillion invested in 2015 by the federal government in Crown Agents Bank and some other financial institutions in the country.
Crown Agents Bank is a United Kingdom (UK) regulated provider of wholesale Foreign Exchange and cross-border payment services connected across frontier and emerging markets.
The Senate, in the 2015 Auditor-General of the Federation’s (AuGF) report adopted recently before proceeding on annual recess, accused the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) of failing to present shares certificate to authenticate the genuineness of Federal government investments in Crown Agents Bank and financial institutions in Nigeria.
The irregularities as revealed in the Audit report, arose from the failure of the Accountant General of the Federation to provide share certificate to authenticate genuineness of N46 billion investment in 2015, and written authority for the disposal of the sum of N134.3 billion as the account into which the proceeds were credited was not provided for audit.
The report also stated that there were no additional investments in the power sector during the year under review, as against N547.8 billion being opening balance in the National Integrated Power Projet (NIPP) at the beginning of 2015.
According to the Audit Report, Crown Agents disposed off investment totaling N3 billion while additional investments amounting to N439.7 billion were also acquired during the year under review without documentary evidence.
While the account where the proceeds of the disposal of the sum of N3 billion credited was not provided for audit confirmation, the report further revealed that about N239 billion investment was an overcast recorded in the 2014 investment.
The AuGF in the subsequent query issued to the AGF which was adopted by the Senate read in part:
“It was observed that the federal government of Nigeria had additional investment in the sum of N46.3 billion and total disposal of investment of N134.3 billion as at year ended , 2015. The shares certificate to authenticate the genuineness of the additional investment of N46.3 billion were not Produce for audit.
“Also, there was no written authority for the disposal of the sum of N134.3 billion as the account into which the proceeds were credited was not provided for audit confirmation.
“There were no additional investments in the power sector during the year under review as against the N547 billion being opening balance of investment in the National Integrated Power Projet (NIPP) at the beginning of 2015.
“The Accountant-General of the Federation was required by the Auditor-General to provide the authorities for all the additional and disposal of investment during the year under review and provide the share certificate of all the additional investment for audit verification.”
The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, in its response, however, stated that “the investment of N10 billion and N16.8 billion in Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc and Galaxy Backbone Plc, respectively, did not occur in year 2015 but were investment omitted from previous statement while the investment of N20 billion in Development Bank of Nigeria was a new Federal government of Nigeria Investment.
“The additional investment of N160 million in Infrastructure Bank was as a result of the subscription of Right Issue declared by the Bank.”
The Senate Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, which presented the Audit report to Senate at plenary claimed it rejected the explanation of the Accountant-General of the Federation as he was unable to produce the share certificate of the said investment in the financial institutions.
Based on the committee’s presentation, the Senate after adopting the report thereafter ordered the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to provide share certificate to the Auditor General of the Federation for Audit within 60 days.