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We have no audited accounts ― Customs

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Monday, told the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts that it has no audited accounts as there was no approval for the engagement of external auditors from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

The Comptroller General of Customs, CGS, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) disclosed this before the House Committee on Public Accounts investigating various audit queries raised against the Service between 2013 and 2014 financial years including the missing N14.8bn from the covers of the Service in 2013.

According to the Customs boss who was represented by Comp. S I Ibrahim, he 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.

At this juncture, the visibly worried Chairman of the Committee, Hon Wole Oke cut in to caution the officer that he should know that he was on an oath and as such he should be sure of his utterances before the Parliament.

However, Ibrahim declared in affirmative that the Service was ready to come forward before the Committee with all relevant documents.

Consequently, the Committee summoned the officials of the BPP to appear before it on Wednesday to respond to the claims of the NCS.

Also, the Committee summoned the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emeifele, to appear before it on Wednesday on the missing N14. 8bn in the Service which contained in the query raised by the Auditor General of the Federation on the 2013 financial year.

Ibrahim told the Committee that prior to the introduction of the Treasury of Single Accounts (TSA), 28 Commercial banks were collecting revenues for the Service.

The Committee directed that the CBN governor should come before it with the statement accounts of the NCS in the period under review with a view to tracking down the missing money.

Also, the Committee ordered the Customs boss to produce before it on Wednesday three former Account officers with the Service on another audit query of N28m said to have expended on a training programme for personnel at the Service’s premises in Gwagwalada, during which over N1m was paid out for hiring a hall.

According to Hon Oke, ” 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 covers of the Federal Government.”

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