Reps to quiz AGF, CBN Governor, Finance Minister over non-disclosure of foreign reserves
• Only Finance Minister, CBN have details • Probe N2.736trn FAAC allocation in 2014
The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Idris Ahmed has denied knowledge of the actual status of Nigeria’s foreign reserve.
Mr Idris disclosed this during the investigative hearing into the audit queries issued by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (oAuGF) on the 2014 financial statement of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), held at the instance of the House Committee on Public Accounts, chaired by Hon. Wole Oke.
Other audit queries include N2.683 trillion revenue allocation from FAAC in 2014; N34.458 billion deduction at source revenue from the distribution of non-oil via Mandate Ref. No: 42730/RS/100/167/DAF dated 16th July 2014; N5,199,864,234.84 one per cent police reward fund; over-expenditure of N5.5 billion Employees Compensation; Non-funding of N11 billion appropriated for Group Life Insurance; over-funding above appropriation figures to the tune of N42.761 billion, among others.
According to the Auditor General, Mr Anthony Ayine, who was represented by Mr Bisi Fakowajo, who read the query on the ‘Non-disclosure of the financial statement, said: “It was observed that the value of Federal Government and Federation Account Foreign Reserves were not disclosed in financial statements ad part of the assets of the Federal Government. The Accountant General of the Federation has been requested to explain why Federal Government Foreign Reserve was not disclosed in the financial statements?”
In his response, the AGF who was represented by Director Consolidated Accounts, Mr Emmanuel Adio and Director IPPIS, explained that the Central Bank has been directed to provide the details of the foreign reserve in its subsequent financial statements, adding that “actually this was discussed in our previous meeting before this Committee and immediately we left here we have written to the CBN for information so that we can put it as an addendum tomorrow financial statement.
“However, our response here says, we noted the observation of the Auditor General of the Federation will be disclosed subsequently.
“Presently we don’t consolidate the accounts of non-Treasury funded, CBN is one of those agencies. This particular foreign reserve will be disclosed by CBN when they are presenting their financial statement but based on the last sitting, in the actual fact, we are not supposed to disclose the account. We have not considerating the account of government business enterprises,” he informed the Public Account Committee.
Piqued by his response, Hon. Oke who queried the veracity of his position, said: “What you are saying, your defence is that statement apt? What you are saying is not lawful, is it sufficient, why shouldn’t we?
“My worry is that the Accountant General said subsequently and I am worried about the past. What is the status as we speak, what is our position? Accountant General let me ask you, are you saying it is appropriate for the Chief Accounting Officer not to have a holistic position, an accurate financial fair view of the financial position of the country?
“Accountant General, when last did CBN render account to you?
“Let me ask you, Accountant General if you have to draw funds from the foreign reserve how do you go about it? And do the office of the Accountant General play no role? You don’t have a position in our foreign reserve?”
In his response, the Accountant General said: “Under the IPSAS accounting standard rule, we have what we call government business enterprises and CBN falls under the government enterprise, they don’t actually render account to us and they are not part of our consolidation. So they have their external Auditor who audits their account.”
On the role played while accessing funds from the foreign reserve, the AGF who answered in the negative said: “No sir, we don’t play any role. We may know on a known basis, not for us to report in our account because we don’t consolidate the CBN accounts,” the AGF told the lawmakers.
Unsatisfied with his response, some of the lawmakers who spoke during the investigative hearing, lamented that CBN as a government financial regulatory agency like NAFDAC and many others, is not a business enterprise, hence should render accounts to the Accountant General of the Federation.
One of the lawmakers said: “the revelation of the Accountant General of the Federation is very worrisome. It is worrisome because we are talking about the Nigerian foreign reserve abound he’s classifying it as if it is a business that somebody is running on behalf of Nigeria.
“All of us should be concerned. You can’t carry the investment of our country and put it in the hands of a regulator,” he noted.
To this end, Hon. Oke the Clerk of the Committee to invite the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed and CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, and other government officials involved in the management of the foreign reserves.
Also expected to appear before the Public Account Committee are: Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu and Managing Directors/CEOs of Skye Bank and United Bank for Africa to provide details of the Police Reward fund from 2014 to 2019.
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