Senate discovers N34bn PEF’s fixed deposit account without interests

By Benjamin Arida://

Senate said at the weekend that it has discovered how the management of the Petroleum Equalization Fund, PEF Management allegedly placed N34 billion in fixed deposit account without remit interest of N182 million.

The upper legislative chamber, through its Committee on Public Accounts, said the agency only remitted N82 million and allegedly pocketed N100 million from the interest of N34 billion in various banks.

The alleged anomaly, according to the committee, chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide was discovered in the 2016 report of the Auditor General for the Federation, AuGF, which is currently considered by the panel.

However, the management of PEF declined to appear before the committee on Wednesday last week while there was no any letter to justify their absence at the investigative hearing.

The new management of Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission is expected to respond to the allegation since the federal government has scrapped PEF following the signing of Petroleum Industrial Act, PIA by President Muhammadu Buhari, recently.

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). 

“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.  

“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.”

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