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SENATE REACTS TO QUERIES ISSUED TO NCS AND NPA BY OFFICE OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL OVER ALLEGED FINANCIAL LEAKAGES                      

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SENATE REACTS TO QUERIES ISSUED TO NCS AND NPA BY OFFICE OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL OVER ALLEGED FINANCIAL LEAKAGES                                                                                         06-12-23

By Sadiq Aminu                                                     The Senate’s attention was drawn to the queries by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation at two federal government revenue-generating agencies, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over alleged financial leakages.

At a meeting in Abuja,The Senate Committee on Public Accounts led by Senator Ahmed Wadada asked the Nigerian Custom Service to refund the sum of over N62, Billion to the Federation Account.

The Senate Committee gave the NCS team led by Deputy Comptroller General of Customs, in charge of Finance, Admin and Technical Services, Mr F.O. Okun,
two weeks to come and provide evidence of remittance to the Federation Account.

The Chairman of the Committee Senator Ahmed Wadada expressed disappointment that for seven years, the Service has not made any reconciliation since the report was signed.
According to him, “the NCS is one of the most reliable sources of revenue. If we continue to have this loophole, we shall forever continue to have leakages. If this continues, the government will continue to lose revenue and borrowing will continue to service the budget and the deficit will have no end.”

“Regardless of when it happens, the government is a continuum and we must address the leakages.”

Meanwhile the Committee accused the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority of failure to account for over indebtedness of the terminal operators and $68m outstanding Estate Rent and Shipping Dues.

Senator Wadada Committee indicted the management of the NPA of treating its summon with levity and gave it 48 hours to appear before it.

He said: “Before anything, I would like to reiterate what this Committee stands for based on the understanding and the responsibilities that are expected to be discharged by this Committee.

“This Committee relies partly and not wholly on the Auditor General for the Federation’s Audit report to discharge its responsibilities. Beyond, the Committee as well goes on a status inquiry where it writes Ministries, Departments and Agencies whenever it wants to know the status of these agencies whether those agencies and departments are in question.

“And the Committee based on its commitment to the development and growth of Nigeria is not out to witch-hunt anybody, or want to take anybody to the cleaners.

“The Committee under my stewardship with support of my distinguished members have had cause to say this not once, not twice, that we should understand that audited or Auditor-General’s report is not an indictment of any ministry, department or agencies of government, but rather a wake up call for us to know what was wrongly committed by who.

“Going forward, we should find a way to correct the wrong to make the system better and we move on to the greater heights.
“We will communicate to them to appear before the Committee in the next 48 hours to appear before this Committee or otherwise we will use all the instruments within the law to call them to order. Nobody should be allowed to disrespect the institution of the National Assembly.”

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