Customs boss appears at National Assembly

•As Senate indicts agency over five years unaudited account

After two failed appearances before the  Senate Committee on Public Accounts,  the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Services, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd) surfaced at the National Assembly on Thursday.

His invitation was sequel to the query issued to his agency and over 20 other  Ministries,  Department and Agencies, MDAs by the Auditor General of the  Federation, Anthony Ayine over unaudited five years account by the indicted MDAs.

The office of the Accountant  General of the Federation was equally indicted.

The Auditor General of the Federation equally queried the Nigerian Customs Services and the Federal Inland Revenue  Services over non-remittance of five per cent monthly wage of their employees to the Pension Fund,  contrary to section 39 (2) of the  Pension Reform Act.

A dissatisfied chairman of the Public Accounts  Committee,  Mathew  Urghogide accused the NCS and representative of the Account General of the Federation of non-compliance with standard accounting timelines.

He said: “For over five years, the NCS and other MDAs haven’t produced their audited accounts.  How can we say we are fighting corruption under this situation?

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“The Customs Act says you must send in your audited accounts,  six months into another financial year.  We must clear the outstanding unaudited accounts.  What the President does with this Committee findings will tell us how we are fighting corruption. A lot of us are very concerned and this isn’t the way to go.  So many weighty allegations against  Customs.

“The query given to you by the Auditor General of the Federation in 2015 and you are yet to vacate them, almost five years after! ”

On the default in remittance of monthly pension of NCS employees,  representative of the Accountant General of the Federation,  Olusegun Olufehintola attributed the infraction to lack of funds.

The CG,  NCS spoke in similar vein.

He said: “When I came into Customs in 2015, the Government had to keep giving us subventions,  intervention funds in order to make up the payment of our officers and that continued up till today until recently when part of CISS was given to us to augment our payment. I always sought for payment of our salaries. What the Accountant General said is the true situation.

“Now that we have the CISS and pay every emolument, our officers are supposed to get them, we can take five per cent and begin to pay.”

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