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Breaking: Senate uncovers former PHCN’s N14.7 billion hidden in Fidelity Bank, others



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The sum of N14.7 billion belonging to the defunct Power Holdings Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was found hidden in Fidelity Bank of Nigeria.

Another Bank that was also found to have housed part of the fund secretly was the Stanbic IBTC Bank.

The two commercial banks were said to have served as accomplice to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), an agency of government that hid the fund away from accounting it to the government.

The secret fund was blown open by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide which relied on the earlier report of 2017 by the Auditor-General of the Federation.

The Senate was shocked that the proceed of PHCN was lodged sometime in December, 2016, three years after privatisation exercise has been concluded, thereby raising suspicion of ill-motives among the three entities.

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Reacting to the query, the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) in its written submission said, “Two separate sums of N3. 231,984.73 (allegedly held in Fidelity Bank PLC) and N18,199,520.87 (reported as 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 or asked questions, the matter would have been clarified.

“With respect to the two other bank balances N4.4 billion (Access Bank PLC) and N10.2 billion in FCMB, the correct balance in Access Bank as at 31/12/16 was NIL as the bank had transfered a swelled balance of $34.1 million to the CBN domiciliary Account.

“The bank had initially been unable to make the transfer as at September 2015 as required under TSA policy, owing to the inexistence of designated USD Treasury Single Account for dollar balances.

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“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 18/5/17 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 as at 31st December 2016.

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“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.”


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