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Senate exposes irregularities in FG’s N1.1 trillion investment in foreign financial institutions

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The Nigerian Senate has uncovered irregularities in the Federal Government’s N1.1trillion investments in Crown Agents Bank and some other financial institutions abroad.

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Crown Agents Bank is a United Kingdom (UK) regulated provider of wholesale Foreign Exchange and cross-border payment services connected across frontier and emerging markets.

In a report adopted by the Senate last month before proceeding on annual recess, which was seen by DAILY POST, the Accountant General of the Federation ( AGF) , was accused of failing to present shares certificate to authenticate the genuineness of Federal government investments in Crown Agents Bank and Financial Institutions in Nigeria.

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The irregularities as revealed by the 2015 Audit report, arose from the failure of the Accountant General of the Federation to provide share certificate to authenticate genuineness of N46 billion investment in 2015, and written authority for the disposal of the sum of N134.3 billion as the account into which the proceeds were credited was not provided for audit.

Also stated in the report is that there were no additional investments in the power sector during the year under review, as against N547.8 billion being the opening balance in the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) at the beginning of 2015.

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The report stated further that Crown Agents disposed of investment totalling N3bn while additional investments amounting to N439.7billion were also acquired during the year under review without documentary evidence.

Account where the proceeds of the disposal of the sum of N3bn credited, was not provided for audit confirmation.

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It was unravelled that about N239 billion investment was an overcast recorded in the 2014 investment.

The Auditor reads, “It was observed that the federal government of Nigeria had additional investment in the sum of N46.3 billion and total disposal of investment of N134.3 billion as at year ended, 2015. The shares certificate to authenticate the genuineness of the additional investment of N46.3 billion were not produced for audit.

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“Also, there was no written authority for the disposal of the sum of N134.3 billion as the account into which the proceeds were credited was not provided for audit confirmation.

“There were no additional investment in the power sector during the year under review as against the N547 billion opening balance of investment in the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) at the beginning of 2015.

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“The Accountant-General of the Federation was required by the Auditor-General to provide the authorities for all the additional and disposal of investment during the year under review and provide the share certificate of all the additional investment for audit verification.”

But, the Office Accountant General of the Federation in its response said, “The Accountant General of the Federation stated that the investment of N10 billion and N16.8 billion in Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc and Galaxy Backbone Plc, respectively, did not occur in year 2015 but were investment committed from previous statement while the investment of N20 billion in Development Bank of Nigeria was a new Federal government of Nigeria Investment.

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“The additional investment of N160 million in the Infrastructure Bank was as a result of the subscription of Right Issue declared by the Bank.”

The Committee chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, however, rejected the explanation of the Accountant-General of the Federation as he was unable to produce a share certificate.

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Based on the Committee presentation, the Senate therefore ordered the Office of Accountant General of the Federation to provide a share certificate to the Auditor General of the Federation for Audit within 60 days.

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