The House of Representatives ad hoc committee constituted to investigate the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for alleged under remittance of over $5billion into the federation account began its work at the weekend. The ad hoc committee, headed by the Chairman House Committee on Customs, Hon James Faleke, has fashioned out a work plan on which ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to invite and other necessary modalities necessary for the investigative hearing. Our correspondent reports that the committee was constituted, following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon Ayo Omidiran (APC/Osun ) in which he alleged that the CBN was guilty of not disclosing the true state of the financial inflows into the federation account on a monthly basis. The House member also indicted the office of the accountant general of the federation for not reporting the alleged infractions by the CBN. Omidiran said,

“The CBN 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 authorisation. “The CBN in 2006, opened various accounts with JP Morgan Chase Bank in New York, USA, in which International Oil Companies (IOCs) remit all revenues for the federation. “The CBN still operates an account with Federal Reserve Bank of New York, USA, alongside that of JP Morgan Chase Bank from 2006 till date.

“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. “In the recent past, FAAC meetings have been postponed due to irregularities observed in the federation account by the states.” According to her, the CBN violated Section 80 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) by spending funds not appropriated by the National Assembly. After the House Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara, announced the constitution of ad hoc committee last week at plenary, the committee decided to begin work in earnest and decided to invite the CBN and the accountant general of the federation and others to help in its investigation.

While moving the motion on the floor, Hon. Omidiran had expressed regret that the apex bank has not been forthright on the issue. In a related development, the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the alleged abuse of import duty waivers granted sugar companies has resolved to summon the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah and other stakeholders to shed new light on how firms granted waivers by the federal government short changed the government of billions of Naira in revenue. Chairman of the House ad hoc committee, Hon Olasupo Abiodun Adeola, disclosed this to journalists at the weekend in Abuja, while speaking to journalists.

Hon Adeola said that the committee’s assignment is straight forward, to determine the compliance by local sugar companies with the waiver granted them to import raw sugar into the country under a scheme to promote backward integration and ensure local sugar production meets demand, thereby reducing Nigeria’s dependence on imported sugar. Sadly, he declared that companies granted the waiver abused the privilege and turned around to fleece the nation of billions of Naira.

He assured that the committee will do a thorough job, adding that “we’ll hit the ground running and the committee will invite all stakeholders, including the minister and everybody involved with the waiver one way or the other. “Nigeria produces less than four per cent of its sugar requirements locally. The backwards integration scheme that necessitated the granting of waiver was to encourage local production, reduce imports, create employment and reduce foreign exchange expenditure.” Henry Omunu, Abuja

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