Senate queries NBET over N1.5 billion unremitted fund

Senate queries NBET over N1.5 billion unremitted fund

The Abuja National Industrial Court has ordered Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) to pay a whistleblower, Sambo Abdullahi, all of his wages and other emoluments from December 22, 2017 to date.

The Senate has questioned the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, NBET, on assumptions N1.5 billion not remitted as the total amount accruing as accrued interest on Treasury Bills investments.

The investigation of Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Popular Democratic Party, PDP, Edo Sur, led by the Senate Public Accounts Committee is the sequel to a report of accounts not submitted by government agencies including NBET as presented to it.

The Senate Committee is based on the report that is presented to it for scrutiny by the Auditor General of the Federation.

This was stated by Urhoghide yesterday when the general director of the company, Dr. Nnaemeka Ewelukwa, appeared before the commission to defend the query raised by the General Auditor of the Federation on the subject.

Although the Company’s Managing Director stated that the then Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iwella gave his approval to the Company to invest in Treasury bills and spent the interest earned on the investment in Treasury bills.

Meanwhile, when senators critically examined the approval letter from the Minister of Finance, it was discovered that the Minister had said that, “NBET is hereby granted authorization to use accrued and accrued interest on its investment in Treasury bills to boost the capitalization of NBET as long as the NBET does not use that money for recurring expenses.

The Minister had stated this in a letter dated March 6, 2015 in response to the request for withholding of interest earned on NBET’s investment in Nigerian Treasury bills.

The query issued by the Auditor General stated: “Various analyzes performed on the investment made by NBET, it was noted that it stopped the remittance of the interest accrued on the investment in Nigerian Treasury Bills, as well as the outstanding balances of the Various accounts maintained by the company in April 2014.

This was the result of a letter written from the office of the coordinating minister of economy dated March 6, 2015, which allegedly granted NBET retroactive authorization to withhold all of the 2014 interest.

“Pending interest not remitted to consolidated income is N1. 5 trillion. The audit team noted the following issues regarding withholding of interest.

In its response, NBET stated that all accrued interest on the outstanding balance was referred to the CRF as the approval received did not cover this component, adding: “Interest accrued from inception to December 2014 has been remitted.”

However, the committee chair Senator Urhoghide approached the managing director of NBET that only 529 million naira was remitted, leaving around 986 million naira unreferred to the Consolidated Income Fund (CRF).

The President said that it is evident that the query raised by the Auditor General was valid asking the committee until Tuesday of next week to defend the pending N986 million not remitted.

The query was raised by the Auditor General in 2015 until the time of this report, NBET was able to provide receipts of N529 million from N1.5 billion of unremitted interest from the investment in the treasury bills.

The balance of around Naira 986 million has yet to be remitted to the Considated Revebue Fund (CRF).

The Office of the Auditor General in its report said: “The exemption request that seeks to withhold all interest presented to the Ministry of Finance by NBET was dated February 2, 2015 to this date and before the Minister of Finance gave approval. In March 2015, NBET could have remitted the interest earned prior to the complaint.

“It would appear that NBET Management deliberately withheld all accumulated interest on Investment Treasury Bills and the outstanding balance in anticipation of the approval received”

In addition to the allegation of squalor in the NBET, the senators also discovered how the company’s management paid illegal assignments to its staff, such as vacation allowance, communication allowance, and thirteenth month salary.

The query said: “The National Commission of Income and Salaries through its circular of September 19, 2013, approved the compensation and benefits structure for NBET, contrary to this, NBET created an additional document of compensation and benefit policy not approved.

“This resulted in the payment of illegal allowances to its staff such as vacation allowance, communication allowance and salary of the 13th month, contrary to the Salaries and allowances approved in the public service.

“There was no evidence to show that the company approved the fringe benefits and compensation policy document.

“The Managing Director was asked to provide government approval to institute these concessions in the company or the N47 rebate. 4 million for federal government coffee. “

The Managing Director of NBET was unable to present any documents to substantiate the illegal approval obtained from Company personnel.

Furthermore, the Senate asked the NBET about the payment of 14 million naira for both local and international courses and conferences and did not provide evidence to show that the paid conference was duly attended.

The NBET also failed to provide evidence that the paid conference was properly attended.

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