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Emefiele, CBN Governor to Appear Before Senate Panel Over Missing $9.5m PPT Fund

Things are certainly not looking rosy for Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and this is not unconnected to the fact that he has been summoned to appear before the Senate Committee on Public Accounts headed by Senator Matthew Urhoghide on Tuesday.

The summon to the governor who is expected to appear with his officials, was in connection with alleged disappearance of $9.5 million interest accrued from Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) investment.

The Senate had opened investigation into the principal sums deposited, the tenor and rate of interest, but were shrouded in secrecy by the apex Bank, a development that has infuriated the panel last week.

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.

The summon was sequel to the consideration of 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.

Irked by this development, the committee resolved to invite the CBN officials to give explanation on issues raised in the Auditor-General’s report.

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 the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“Records 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.

“This suggests the foreign PPT/Royalthy 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, certificate 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.

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