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Senate queries CBN over $3.3bn unremitted foreign tax

Senate queries CBN over $3.3bn unremitted foreign taxThe Senate has queried the Central Bank of Nigeria over alleged unremitted $3.3bn from the $21.3bn collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Service as foreign tax in 2015.

The Public Accounts Committee of the red chamber issued the query after its meeting on Wednesday.

The Senate panel said it acted on an audit query raised against the CBN by the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation.

Quoting the audit query, the panel said while the FIRS recorded $21.3bn as the total sum of foreign tax collected by it in 2015 and domiciled in the apex bank, the CBN on the other hand, recorded $18bn.

The Chairman of the panel, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, asked the CBN management to explain the shortfall.

The Deputy Governor (Corporate Affairs) of the bank, Mr Edward Adamu, had given an explanation that was not convincing to the panel.

The Deputy Governor said the shortfall of $3.3bn was neither missing nor unremitted.

He said variations in exchange rate during the time was the reason for the difference between the amounts recorded by the FIRS and the CBN.

The Senate committee then directed him and other top officials of the CBN to report back to it on Monday with required documents on the alleged variations in the exchange rate.

The Chairman of the committee told journalists after the session that the record of the FIRS showed $21.3bn while the record of the CBN reflected $18bn.

He said, “When the CBN was asked about the difference in the amount, the CBN hinged its argument on exchange rate, upon which officials of the bank are directed to come up with supporting documents if they have.

“There were 13 queries raised concerning CBN. Today, they have explained some while some are yet to be sufficiently explained, particularly the $3.3bn difference it has from the $21.3bn foreign taxes remitted by FIRS.”

The committee has fixed Tuesday next week for the appearance of some other government establishments.

Those to appear before the panel, according to Urhoghide, are the Nigerian Army, the Police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over their alleged unaudited accounts over the years.

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