Accountant General queried over N400bn hidden overdraft

Auditor General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine has frowned at the unwholesome preparation of Federal Government accounts leading to the under-reporting of N400 billion overdrafts by the Federal Government.

Ayine disclosed this and other infractions in his 2017 Audit Report submitted to the National Assembly just recently.

Ayine said “we relied on third-party account balance confirmation provided by CBN alongside the balance contained in the Statement of Financial Position to arrive at the following findings:

There was a net overdrawn bank balance with MDAs in the sum of N400,341,840,719.24 as at 31st December 2017.

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“A further examination of the notes revealed that 15 accounts had debit balances that means “assets” amounting to N2,595,778,779,855.57 while four accounts had N2,996,120,620,574.81 as credit balances signifying “Liability”.

“The overdrawn balance of the Federal Government (per the CBN) as at 31st December 2017 stood at N2,455,817,954,214.86.”

“A comparison of the names of accounts listed in the financial statements and those shown in the CBN account balance confirmation letter indicates that there are 19 accounts while the CBN list acknowledged only four accounts.

“From the four accounts, three were found to correspond with the financial statements, however, there was a difference between the CBN figure and the balance in the financial statements in respect of OAGF Cash Transit – Treasury Single Account (TSA) recurrent account in the sum of N2,576,603.81

“There was also a TSA e-collection account in the CBN Statement but this was not shown in the financial statements.”

Ayine also spotted errors in the operation of TSA, and improper inclusion of TSA Suspense Balance as Investment Income as

The audit noted a balance of N163,348,905,483.62 was included within the Investment Income as TSA Settlement Centre.

The report described the inclusion of the TSA Settlement Centre balance as part of Investment Income in 2017 is inappropriate because this may indicate a material misstatement of balances in the Statement of Financial Performance.

The Accountant General was also unable to explain inadequate disclosure of Aids and Grants amounting to N6.6 billion.

A total of N9.03 billion was received as aids and grants, and a sum of N6,649,091,891.14 representing 74 per cent of the reported amount was said to be domestic grants during the 2017 fiscal year.

“There was no information about the donors or the recipient MDAs to verify the occurrence, accuracy or completeness of the transaction”, the report stated.

Ayine said although the Accountant-General was requested to provide the list of donors and benefiting MDAs, “no response was received as at the time of this report.”

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