The office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (AGF) has found that eight payment vouchers worth N343.95 million raised by the Ministry of Water Resources in 2017 were missing and not presented for audit, the 2017 Audit report of the ministry revealed.
The report, which was prepared by the office and signed by the AGF, Anthony Ayine, had been submitted to the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly.
It also disclosed a number of major weaknesses and lapses in the management of public funds and resources, some of which had been reported by Nairametrics, were identified across several ministries, departments and agencies during the annual audit.
The findings range from irregular expenditures to failure to surrender surplus revenues to the treasury, all running into billions of naira.
It also stated the continuing failure in the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards.
Details of Ministry of Water audit: Ayine in the audit report noted that the inability of the Ministry of Water Resources to present the payment vouchers for audit violated the provisions of section 85(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and Financial Regulation 108.
Based on the violation committed by the ministry, AGF state that the amount incurred on the vouchers could not be regarded as legitimate charges against public funds.
He said in the report, “Based on the action of the ministry, the Federal Government might have lost the sum of N343.95million as there was no evidence of work done or service rendered.
“When audit queries were issued to the ministry, the permanent secretary in his response produced only two payment vouchers amounting to N4.47million. Six payment vouchers totaling N339.47m were not produced by the permanent secretary for audit purposes.
“The amount incurred on those vouchers cannot be regarded as legitimate charges against public funds. The government may have lost the sum of N343,957,350.60, as there is no evidence of work done or service rendered. Sanctions, as contained in the Financial Regulation 3106, should be invoked. The permanent secretary is required to account for the sum of N339,479,335.60 not presented for audit.”
Meanwhile, Nairametrics had reported that the audit report revealed that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), under its immediate past Executive Chairman, Babatunde Fowler, failed to collect taxes worth about N41 billion in Lagos as it has not been able to meet up with its target over the past four consecutive years.
The taxes, which are yet to be collected from companies, government agencies, and local government councils, are valued at N40.8 billion.
In the report for the year ended December 2017, the Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF), Anthony Ayine, said the observation was made during the review of records filed by Companies at Federal Inland Revenue Service Micro and Small Tax Offices (MSTO), Medium Tax Offices (MTO), Large Tax Offices (LTO) and Government Business Tax Offices (GBTO) within the South–west Zone comprising of Lagos, Ogun, Osun, and Oyo states.
He said the uncollected taxes, which range from Company Income Tax, Value Added Tax, withholding tax, education tax, to Capital Gains Tax, may prevent the federal government from meeting its projected revenue.
Update: FG extends second phase of eased lockdown by another 4 weeks
This is the third time the second phase of the eased lockdown is being extended.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another 4 weeks.
According to a monitored media report, this is the third time the second phase of the eased lockdown which is currently observed across the country is being extended
The disclosure was made by Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, during the Task Force briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
The Federal Government had on July 27 extended the current lockdown by an additional one week due to the Sallah celebration on July 29.
Mustapha disclosed that the extension followed the briefing and recommendation to President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday on the progress made so far by Presidential Task Force in containing the spread of Covid-19 and keeping citizens safe from contracting the virus.
The PTF Chairman noted that they made a couple of recommendations to the president and the extension of the current phase of ease of lockdown was one of the ones approved.
He revealed that in the recommendation that was made to the president about retaining the current phase of the lockdown, the PTF made some minor changes to address the economic, socio-political concerns of Nigerians.
Under the current extended second phase, the current curfew of 10 pm to 4 am is still in force, civil servants on grade level 12 and above are now to resume work fully and close by 4 pm and no longer 2 pm that currently operates. He, however, said that virtual meetings by government officials and parastatals will be maintained.
He also said that while the restrictions on recreational parks have been lifted for non-contact physical activities, the ban on entertainment centres will be sustained.
Mustapha explained that despite the accomplishments and challenges, some challenges continue to pose a considerable concern. Some of them include increased non-compliance with non-pharmaceutical prevention measures, lack of enforcement of necessary guidelines issued to preserve lives, insufficient engagement by some states with the national response, and lingering concern about the gap between identified cases and the actual burden of disease.
He also talked about apathy, fatigue and disbelief combining to challenge public enlightenment, compliance and behaviour change.
The SGF said that to address these challenges, the PTF decided that it was important to ensure that restrictions were not completely relaxed in order to control transmission.
He noted that it was also important that at this Community Transmission Phase of the pandemic, sub-national governments should step up to take more responsibilities by owning the response.
The various state authorities and the Federal Capital Territory were mandated to enforce non=pharmaceutical guidelines, the use of face masks in public appearances and places.
Just In: Access Bank acquires Zambian Cavmont Bank Ltd
The statement from Access Bank says that the deal is a highly complementary transaction.
Access Bank Zambia, a subsidiary of Nigeria’s Access Bank Plc, has reached a ‘definitive agreement’ with Cavmont Capital Holdings Zambia Plc (CCHZ) to acquire Cavmont Bank Ltd.
The tier-1 bank announced this latest development regarding the merger talk which has been ongoing for a while, in a statement that was signed by its Company Secretary (Sunday Ekwochi) and issued to the Nigerian Stock Exchange earlier today.
According to the statement by Access Bank, the deal is a highly complementary transaction that is expected to combine Access Bank Zambia’s wholesale and trade finance capabilities with Cavmont Bank’s retail and commercial banking operations.
The proposed transaction which, in the meantime is still subject to relevant shareholder and regulatory approvals, is also expected to better position Access Bank Zambia as one of the top 10 banks in the Southern African country.
Customers from the enlarged bank will benefit from greater security offered by what will be one of the most capitalized banks in Zambia with a more diversified product and service offering and a broader geographical footprint and infrastructure.
Access Bank on its notification stated, ‘’Subsequent to our announcement on July 8, 2020, the Board of Access Bank Plc announces today that its subsidiary, Access Bank (Zambia) Limited, has entered into a definitive agreement with Cavmont Capital Holdings Zambia Plc (CCHZ) regarding proposed acquisition of Cavmont Bank Limited, a subsidiary of CCHZ and subsequent merger of Cavmont Bank’s operations into Access Bank Zambia. The proposed transaction, which remains subject to relevant shareholder and regulatory approvals, will position the enlarged Access Bank Zambia as one of the top 10 banks in Zambia and create the momentum to advance its strategic objectives.’’
‘’Under the terms of the agreement, Access Bank Zambia will acquire the entire issued ordinary share capital, assets and liabilities of Cavmont Bank while Capricom Group Limited, the ultimate majority shareholder of CCHZ will invest at least ZMW300 million ($16.5 million) of preference shares into Access Bank Zambia. Capricorn will hold preference shares in the enlarged Access Bank Zambia for a period of five years, after which the preference shares will be acquired by Access Bank Plc.’’
The statement also notes that the enlarged bank will be well placed to participate in the long-term economic growth of Zambia and will be predicated on the country’s vast reserves of natural resources and fast growing young population.
The transaction is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2020.
Nnaemeka Ewelukwa assumes office as new MD/CEO of NBET
Dr, Eweluka replaced the sacked Dr. Amobi as NBET Chief before full assumption in August 2020.
Dr Nnaemeka Ewelukwa has assumed office as the new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc. This was announced earlier today by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
— Government of Nigeria (@NigeriaGov) August 6, 2020
The Backstory: In December 2019, the former CEO of NBET, Dr Marilyn Amobi, was suspended by Nigeria’s Minister of Power. This followed a series of complaints made against Dr Amobi who was appointed to the position in 2016. Following her sack, the Minister of Power also noted that he was seeking to bring sanity back to the system. A committee was also set up to investigate the many complaints against the former NBET CEO.
“In view of this, the minister has also directed the Constitution of a 5-man investigative committee to look into the myriads of complaints against the MD/CEO (of NBET) with the view of restoring sanity in the management of the company. Consequently, she is to handover to the most senior director in the organisation,” a statement issued by Aaron Artimas, the spokesman of the Minister of Power had read.
Interestingly, President Muhammadu Buhari reinstated Dr Amobi in January this year, but then finally sacked her later in June. Now, Dr, Eweluka, who was earlier announced as Amobi’s replacement, has now taken over.
Before now, Eweluka was appointed the General Counsel and Company Secretary of NBET in march 2012. He has also served as a Technical Adviser with the Presidential Task Force on Power (PTFP) where he was a member of the Regulatory and Transactions Monitoring Unit.
He graduated with an LLB from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, an LLM in International Business Law from the London School of Economics and a PhD from Queen Mary, University of London.