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Senate uncovers how PEF fix-deposited N34bn without remitting interest

Senate

Tunde Opalana & Haruna Salami, Abuja

The Senate has uncovered how Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) Management allegedly placed N34 billion in a fixed deposit account without remitting interest of N182 million.

The agency allegedly only remitted N82 million pocketing N100 million from the interest of N34 billion in various banks.

The discovery by the Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide hinged on the 2016 report of the Auditor General of the Federation which is currently being considered by the Committee.

However, the Management of Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) declined to appear before the Committee scheduled for Wednesday last week as there was no 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 Federal Government has scrapped Petroleum Equalization Fund following the signing of Petroleum Industrial Act

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 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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Chuka Francis

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