Reps queries CBN for spending N2.8b on renovation of Port Harcourt office



The activities of Central Bank of Nigeria once again came under public scrutiny as the House of Representatives queried the rationale behind some espenses by the regulator.

The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives on Tuesday queried CBN over N4.7bn expenditure, especially the renovation of its Port Harcourt branch with N2.8bn.

The committee, which is considering audit queries raised by

The Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAGF) had raised audit queries on these expenditures.

The committee while considering the queries said the bank was yet to offer convincing explanations on how the “huge expenditure was incurred.”

The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Solomon Olamilekan, said the N2.8bn the bank claimed to have spent on the renovation of its Port Harcourt branch as one example of the extravagant expenditures.

He was speaking in session with the officials of the bank.

Olamilekan, who was speaking at a session with the officials of the bank, said the expenditures were allegedly incurred without documents to support them and “giving indication that due process was not followed.”

The House is also not comfortable with other expenditure items as revealed by the OAGF.

The House through the committee wants to know how N23m was reportedly spent on the renovation of the residence of the governor of the bank, while a separate N50m was quoted for the same purpose.

The committee noted that in a period of less than four years, contract for the renovation the building was awarded for N74m and subsequently reviewed upwards to N79.6m.

The committee did not mention the governors under whose tenures the contracts were awarded, but it said the audit queries covered “several years.”

It also said the bank bought a property worth N848m for the National Planning Commission.

According to the committee, the expenditure has no transaction agreements.

The committee gave the bank a 48-hour ultimatum to produce documents to defend the spending.

The Deputy Governor, Corporate Service, CBN, Mr. Suleiman Barau, who led other officials to the meeting, responded that he was not at the bank when the expenditures were incurred, but promised to search for the documents and forward them to the lawmakers.

“I was not in the office when all this happened. I am only defending the institution,” he said.

On his part, the Director of Procurement, CBN, Mr. I. O. Gbadamosi, claimed that many of the documents might be difficult to trace because the bank usually cleared its shelves every five years.

But, the committee gave the bank two options, either to produce the documents or it would recommend the refund of the money spent into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

Source: The Rainbow



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