Lagos — The Senate has named four banks where N14.7 billion proceeds from privatisation of defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria was stacked in by the Bureau of Public Enterprise.
The banks were identified as; Fidelity Bank, FCMB, Access Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank.
The Senate Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, relied on the 2017 Auditor General’s report to unravel the hidden fund in commercial banks on December 31, 2016, whereas the privatisation of PHCN had been concluded since 2013.
But the Bureau of Public Enterprise in its written submission said: “Two separate sums of N3.231,984.73 (allegedly held in Fidelity Bank PLC) and N18.199,520.87 (reportedly held in Stanbic Bank PLC) are unaudited bank balances that were actually no longer in existence as at the date of the audited financial statements.
“With respect to the two other bank balances of N4.4bn (Access Bank PLC) and N10.2bn in FCMB, the correct balance in Access Bank as at 31/12/16 was NIL as the bank had transferred a balance of $34.1 million to the CBN domiciliary account.
“The bank had initially been unable to make the transfer on September 2015 as required under TSA policy, owing to the inexistence of designated USD Treasury Single Account for dollar balances.
“The balance in the FCMB Bank as at 31/12/2016 was only $36,053.55 following a transfer of $65,088,198.53.
“The residual balance remained until 18/95/17 due to inability of the bank to remit as required under the TSA policy owing to initial unavailability of designated TSA for USD balances as required under the then newly introduced policy.”
The query reads: “Audit verification and reconciliation revealed that the sum of ₦14,720,396,432.43 (Fourteen billion, seven hundred and twenty million, three hundred and ninety-six thousand, four hundred- and thirty-two-naira, forty-three kobo), being proceeds from the privatization exercise of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was reported in the Bureau’s trial balance to be in commercial bank accounts on 31st December 2016.
“Whereas the privatization of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was concluded in 2013, the proceeds are yet to be remitted to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Privatization Proceeds Accounts.
“The issue has been communicated to the Bureau via letter reference No. OAuGF/RESAD/05/2016/07 dated 19th April 2018 and no response has been received.
“Unauthorised funds kept in commercial banks may be diverted for other purposes, thereby leading to loss of revenue available for Government programmes.
“The Director–General is required to recover the sum of ₦14,720,396,432.43 being proceeds of PHCN and remit same to CRF and forward evidence of remittance to my office for audit confirmation.”