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Customs disowns Accountant General over N28bn remittance

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Customs disowns Accountant General over N28bn remittance

Hameed Ali

Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Hammed Ali has  disowned the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris over the differentials of N28 billion allegedly under-remitted into the Federation Account in 2015.
This was even as Ali offered explanation to the audit report from the Office of the Auditor General of Federation, OAuGF which raises a query to the NCS over non-remittance of five percent pension redemption fund bond of its personnel.
The Auditor General of the Federation, AuGF, Anthony Ayine had in his audited report for 2015 asked the Accountant General to explain the differentials in the amount remitted by the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS and the figures contained in his own records.
The audited report showed that the Customs remitted N185 billion as against the sum of N157 billion in the Chief Accountant’s document.
The Accountant General who was represented Feyintola Olusegun, a Director in his office, had earlier referred the Auditor General and the Senate probe panel to the Customs Service for clarification.
Appearing before the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, chaired by Senator Matthew Uroghide, yesterday, the Customs boss completely absolved his agency of any wrongdoing.
According to Ali, the query in question was strange to the NCS, because the mode of Customs collections are purely automated.
“For anybody to be pointing at us; then there is a problem”, he said.
The Accountant General made what appears a U-turn with a new explanation that the N28 billion was for ECOWAS stabilization fund for 2015.
His latest explanation did not quite sit well with the lawmakers especially as it was not reflected in his earlier written submission to the Senate panel and unable to provide documentary evidence to back up his claim.
On the query of non remittance of pension fund; the NCS boss admitted that his agency defaulted in 2015 because it did not have sufficient funds to meet up with the obligation.
This was as the Accountant General came under fire over unpaid domestic loan of N37.8billion borrowed from 10% Rice Level Account for urgent expenditure in 2013.
Chairman of the Senate panel, Senator Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo North) questioned why the Accountant General had failed to include the loan in the budget since then.
The NCS benefitted N4.5 billion from the said loan as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN and NIMCOMSAT.
The Senate panel however asked the Accountant General to come forward with details of the loan that can help it conclude its probe.

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