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Senate uncovers missing $9.5 million PPT fund at CBN, summons Emefiele

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Worried by the missing $9.5 million PPT fund and the manner with which the Central Bank of Nigeria swept it under the carpet, Senate Committee on Public Accounts has summoned the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele to appear before it on Tuesday.

The Public Accounts Committee of the Senate has revealed the disappearance of $9.5 million interest accrued from Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) investment under Mr. Godwin Emefiele and vowed unravel the circumstances that surrounded the fund.

According to the Committee Chairman on Public Accounts, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, the principal sums deposited, the tenor and rate of interest of Petroleum Profit Tax to the tune of $9.5 million has disappeared for almost five years and the CBN kept it secret.

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Petroleum profit tax (PPT) is a tax applicable to upstream operations in the oil industry. It is particularly related to rents, royalties, margins and profit sharing elements associated with oil mining, prospecting and exploration leases.

Tuesday’s appearance of the CBN and some of his officials was a follow-up to the Committee’s last week sitting over the same worrisome development in the apex bank.

The discovery of the missing PPT fund was reflected in a report by the Auditor-General for the Federation, which probed the spendings of federal government’s agencies.

During the hearing last week, the Accountant General, Ahmed Idris, was unable to provide any documentary evidence on the said fund.

The Senate panel by this development, resolved to invite the CBN officials to give explanation on issue raised in the Auditor-General’s report.

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The report had said, “During the examination of transfers to Foreign Excess PPT/Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude Accounts, it was observed that during the year 2016, amount totalling $6 million and $3.5 million were credited to the Foreign PPT/Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude Account as interest on funds investments.

“The authority for placing the funds which yielded the above interests totaling $9.5 million in deposit account, the principal sums deposited, the tenor and rate of interest were not made available for audit verification.

“This observation had also been a subject of my reports since 2017 without any positive response from Central Bank of Nigeria.

“Records which were seen by CAPITAL POST in Abuja which were made available for audit further revealed that the balance in the foreign PPT/Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude accounts as at 28th December 2016 were USD0.00 and USD251,826 respectively.

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“This suggest the foreign PPT/Royalty was depleted before the year end.

“The Accountant General has been requested to provide the authority for the funds invested, tenor of the investment, rate unrest payable, certficate for the funds invested and forward same for audit verification.”

In a related development, the Senate panel also summoned the apex bank over N121 billion 2014 outstanding subsidy paid to Independent Petroleum Marketers in 2016.

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts has made its stand known last month that all governments agencies would be discreetly probed.

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