CBN Withholds $5bn Illegally — Reps

The House of Representatives said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is hiding $5 billion and failed to declare same to the federation.

The House yesterday said the amount was as a result of the 0.25 per cent deductions from all foreign-denominated revenue as ‘exchange commission,’ for converting dollars to naira.

The House said even after making the deductions, the balance credited to the federation account at various times have been in negative difference, running into billions of naira per year.

It also said the office of the Accountant General of the Federation failed to report the infractions of under-remittance of millions of dollars and trillions of naira into the federation account by the CBN.

Adopting a motion by Ayo Omidiran (APC, Osun), the House resolved to constitute an adhoc panel to investigate the matter and report back within eight weeks.

The House said the CBN, instead of embarking on its statutory role of receiving financial in-flows on behalf of the federation, now goes a step further to usurp the powers of the accountant general by preparing the federation account.

The lawmakers said the apex bank uses the opportunity “to manipulate the system by opening various accounts not known to the three tiers of government, where funds are remitted, hidden, diverted and spent without authorization.”

The House said in 2006, the apex bank opened various accounts with JP Morgan Chase Bank in New York in which IOCs remit revenues and that it still operates an account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to date.

Meanwhile, CBN said in a statement last night by its Acting Director Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, that allegation that the apex bank diverted the said amount was ‘untrue’.

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