*Set up ad hoc c’ttee to probe infraction
The House of Representatives on Wednesday accused the Central Bank of Nigeria of non-remittance of over $5 billion into the federation account and has resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged infraction by the apex bank.
The ad hoc committee is expected to conclude its investigation in eight weeks and present its findings for further legislative action.
This decision by the House follows the adoption of a motion sponsored by Ayo Omidiran (Osun/APC) accusing the CBN of flouting Sections 80 (1&2) and 81 of the constitution by failing to remit into government coffers revenue amounting to more than $5 billion.
Rep. Omidiran expressed worry that even though funds from the federation account are distributed to the three tiers of government in line with the revenue sharing formula, revenue in flows into the federal account are prepared by the CBN instead of the accountant general of the federation.
She said that the apex bank “takes advantage of this all important function of warehousing funds for the three tiers of government and preparation of the federation account statement, to manipulate the system by opening various accounts not known to the three tiers of government where funds are remitted, hidden, diverted and spent without authorization.”
The lawmaker alleged that in 2006, the CBN opened various accounts with JP Morgan Chase Bank in New York, in which oil companies remit revenues for the federation, even as it maintains another account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
According to her, the CBN’s responsibility of receiving revenue in foreign currencies and converting same to Naira for the benefit of the three tiers of government, has led to substantial loss in the amounts remitted to the federation account.
“The substantial difference between the official exchange rate of dollar to Naira, and that at which bureau de change sell in the parallel market, whereas it’s the CBN that sells dollars to the bureau de change operators on a weekly basis, as well as regulate the financial market.
“In the recent past, FAAC meetings have been postponed due to irregularities observed in the federation account by the states.
“The CBN has violated Section 80 (2) of the 1999 Constitution by spending funds not appropriated by the National Assembly.
“The CBN takes 0.25 per cent of all foreign denominated revenue as exchange commission for converting dollars to Naira, but even after deducting this commission, the balance credited to the federation account at various times have been in negative difference (against expectations), running into billions of Naira per year.
“The office of the accountant general of the federation hasn’t reported these infractions of under-remittance of millions of dollars and trillions of Naira into the federation account by the CBN,” Rep. Omidiran asserted.
Henry Omunu, Abuja