Missing N14.8bn: We don’t have audited accounts – Customs

Nigeria Customs Service

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday, disclosed that it has no audited accounts because there was no approval for the engagement of external auditors from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), made the disclosure at an investigation with the House of Representatives’ public accounts committee, which is investigating audit queries raised against the NCS between 2013 and 2014 financial years by Office of Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF).

Testifying before the committee, Ali said: “I want to tell this honourable committee that as we speak, the Service has no audited accounts because we have no approval from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), to engage external auditors.”

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Represented by Comptroller S.I. Ibrahim, Ali added: “We just got this approval recently and the external auditors just sent a draft copy on the 2013 financial year to us just last week.

“We wrote several letters to the BPP on this until we got the nod; it is not our own making.”

On the N14.8 billion allegedly missing in the NCS as alerted by the OAuGF, Ibrahim informed the committee that prior to the introduction of the Treasury of Single Accounts (TSA), 28 commercial banks were collecting revenue for the Service.

The report of the auditor general alleged that N14.8 billion got missing from the coffers of the Service in 2013.

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The Wole Oke-led committee consequently ordered the Customs boss to produce before it tomorrow 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 N1 million was paid out for hiring a hall.

Oke noted that: “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.”

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The committee also directed officials of the BPP to appear before it tomorrow to respond to the claims of the NCS.

Also summoned by the committee is the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to appear before it tomorrow on the alleged missing N14.8 billion in the Service.

It equally directed the CBN governor to come with the statement of accounts of the NCS in the period under review with a view to tracking down the missing money.

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