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Indication has emerged that even though the federal government recently sought and got out of court settlement in a suit it instituted against seven banks over their alleged infractions in their compliance to the Treasury Single Account (TSA), it has made a U-Turn to begin an independent audit to ascertain true compliance.
TSA, a platform which was used by the government to unify all its accounts by ensuring that all monies belonging to the federal government are kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in record time after payments was implemented by this administration from September 2015, after former government failed to start it in February 28, 2015 as it scheduled.
Currently, over 900 agencies of government with 20,000 bank accounts closed while over N5tn had been moved from banks to the CBN.
But there had been series of controversies on whether all the banks actually complied fully with the directive following discoveries recently that about seven banks had yet to remit a total sum of $793m being government funds into the TSA.
Though government may have lost the case on technical grounds, Business Hilights gathered that some banks still have about $21m belonging to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) hanging on its neck till now.
This was revealed by the Managing Director of the federal agency, Hadiza Bala-Usman during a recent media chat on her activities.
She recalled that efforts of the CBN who brokered peace between NPA and the bank yielded minimally and called on the bank to comply as soon as possible.
Speaking in Abuja recently, the Director, Funds, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Alexander Adeyemi, said a comprehensive audit of the remittances by banks is being carried out by the office.
According to him, the main focus of the audit was to determine how much of government funds was government funds in banks before the presidential directive was given, how much was actually moved and what was still being held by banks.
Already, the services of leading auditing firms including Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Ernst and Young had been secured for the deal.
Adeyemi added that “The AGF (Accountant General of the Federation) has given out approval for the audit of the entire TSA and possibly we have very reputable accounting firms like Pricewaterhouse Cooper, Ernst and Young and they are there now in the field doing that audit of the entire TSA so that any money that is still remaining in commercial banks we believe we would be able to discover them”.
“They are doing a three-legged reconciliation. We are starting out from the balance of the MDAs (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) before the presidential directive. Then we are proceeding to CBN in terms of how much was moved, was it the total money in banks? We are also auditing that.
“We are also auditing what is the balance now in these various accounts and so it’s a real comprehensive thing that is presently going on. I must say that some of the lapses that we are seeing especially among the banks not adhering to the presidential directive the truth will surely come out.
“So there is no easy way for them because some few weeks ago, more monies were discovered from some of those commercial banks and they are taking steps that those monies are brought back into the TSA,” he noted.
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