Customs Service says it has no audited accounts
...As Reps probe missing N14.8bn, summon CBN, BPP, others
The Nigeria Customs Service has declared that it has no audited accounts as there was no approval for the engagement of external auditors from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, disclosed this Monday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts investigating various audit queries raised against the Service between 2013 and 2014 financial years. These include the missing N14.8 billion from the covers of the Service in 2013.
Ali who was represented by one S.I Ibrahim, a Comptroller of Customs, told the Committee that the Service currently has no audited accounts as it just got approval recently to engage external auditors and was sent a draft copy on the 2013 financial year just last week.
Chairman of the Committee, Wole Oke, who was visibly angry with such an explanation, cautioned the Officer that he was on an oath and as such he should be sure of his utterances before the Parliament, hence lying under oath attracts severe sanction.
But Ibrahim maintained that the Service was ready to come forward before the Committee with all relevant documents to buttress his claims.
He told the Committee that prior to the introduction of the Treasury of Single Accounts, TSA, 28 Commercial banks were collecting revues for the Service.
The Committee, therefore, summoned the officials of the BPP to appear before it on Wednesday to respond to the claims of the Nigerian Customs Service that the agency did not give it the approval to engage external auditors.
It also summoned the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emfiele to appear before it on Wednesday on the missing N14. 8 billion in the Service which is contained in the query raised by the Auditor General of the Federation in the 2013 financial year.
The Committee requested the CBN Governor to come before it with the statement of accounts of the Nigerian Customs Service during the period under review in order to track down the missing money.
Furthermore, the Committee ordered Customs to produce before it on Wednesday three former Account officers with the Service on another audit query of N28 million said to have been expended on a training programme for personnel at the Service’s premises in Gwagwalada, during which over N1m was paid out for hiring a hall.
“It will be in the interest of the Customs Boss to produce the affected officers, serving or retired, before this Committee to tell us all we need to know about the expenditure or should be ready to refund the amount to the coffers of the Federal Government”, the Committee Chairman maintained.