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Reps probe missing N14.8bn in Customs

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts yesterday began  a public hearing  on the “improper” audit of the account of the Nigeria Customs Service…

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts yesterday began  a public hearing  on the “improper” audit of the account of the Nigeria Customs Service for years.

The investigative hearing focused on series of audit queries raised against the Service between 2013 and 2014 financial years, including an alleged missing N14.8bn in the Service as contained in the query raised by the Auditor-General of the Federation on the 2013 financial year.

The committee summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emeifele, to appear before it tomorrow with the statement of accounts of the NCS during the period under review to ascertain the claim and track the money.

The Comptroller-General of the NCS,  Hameed Ali, said the account of the Service had not been audited by external auditors for years as there was no approval from the Bureau of Public Procurement to engage their services.

Ali, who was represented by an officer in the Finance Department of the Service, S I Ibrahim 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

“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”.

Ali said prior to the introduction of the Treasury of Single Accounts, 28 commercial banks were collecting revenues on behalf of the Service.

He said the service was ready to bring all relevant documents to the committee.

The chairman of the committee, Wole Oke, also ordered that BPP officials should appear before it on Wednesday to respond to the claims by the NCS.

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