Senate unravels N34b in account allegedly held by PEF

Senate has uncovered N34 billion in a fixed deposit account allegedly traced to the management of Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) and non-remittance of N182 million interest

The agency only remitted N82 million, while withholding N100 million from an interest of N34 billion in various banks.
The discovery by Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC), chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, was based on a 2016 Auditor General’s report, currently being considered by the committee.

The management of PEF declined to appear before the committee for a meeting on Wednesday, last week. The new management of Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission is expected to respond to the allegation, since the Federal Government has scrapped the Fund, following signing of the Petroleum Industrial Act.

The query reads: “At the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, 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 is 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 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 seven 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).”