The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has cleared the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of issues bordering on record keeping and document retrieval processes.
Speaking at the resumed session of the Committee to review the queries and observations by the Auditor General for the Federation (AGF), the Committee Chairman, Honourable Olamilekan Solomon Adeola, disclosed that the CBN had forwarded all relevant documents requested by the committee to clear those observations. He commended the CBN for what he described as the Bank’s record of being the best among the government agencies known for good record keeping.
He noted that the CBN was able to forward those documents to the satisfaction of the committee within the specified 48 hour time frame. He acknowledged that the records were simply archived after five years on the shelves and were never destroyed as misconstrued in earlier reports.
On the Port Harcourt Branch building, the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Alhaji Suleiman Barau explained that the building was reconstructed at the cost of N2.8 billion and not mere refurbishment as erroneously stated in the audit query. The committee expressed satisfaction with the documents submitted by the apex bank which included the building plan, bill of quantity and pictures of the old and new structures. The Committee therefore cleared the CBN of the query.
The apex bank was also cleared of the audit observation relating to an upward review of contract sum by N5.0 million for upgrading Fire Detection System in Lagos Office as the Committee was convinced that the review was occasioned by additional work identified and executed under the said contract.
On the issue of the provision N10.0 million for contingency in respect of the Upgrading of the Ilorin Branch Central Air-Conditioning System, the Committee also expressed satisfaction convinced that contingency was duly expended.
Regarding the renovation of the Governor’s residence in Lagos with the sum of N22.0 million and N50.0 million respectively, the CBN management explained how the expenses were incurred between 1993 and 2005. Satisfied by the explanation, the committee went ahead to clear the CBN of any wrong doing
Meanwhile, the CBN Deputy Governor, Corporate Services also promised to make documents available to the committee in order to adequately address other issues raised in audit observations.
The committee chairman however, advised the apex bank and other agencies to always to be more proactive in providing information as and when requested by constituted authorities like AGF in order to avoid unnecessary waste of resources in conducting investigative exercise.
It will be recalled that the CBN had in a press release issued over the weekend clarified that “attempts were made to twist the proceedings of the Committee and to misrepresent the officials of the CBN as saying that the Bank destroys records of its financial transactions after five years”.
In view of the potential dangers in these erroneous reports, the Bank’s statement, maintained that “the CBN does not destroy documents and records of any transaction whatsoever after five years”.
“The CBN maintains “a credible and modern archival system for all its records and documents and that as a public institution, all decisions taken by the CBN are guided by established and documented policies and processes which are based on laid down rules and global best practices”, it added.