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Auditor general queries NPA’s N44bn unremitted tax, N88bn admin spending

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Office of the Auditor General of the Federation has issued more queries on the finances of the Nigerian Ports Authority, alleging various irregularities in the accounts of the agency for 2018.

The alleged infractions run into hundreds of billions, including the failure by the NPA to remit about N44.21bn in taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Services and spending N88.23bn as administrative expenses during the year.

Auditor General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu, issued various queries on the consolidated and separate financial statements of the NPA for the 2018 in an audit report forwarded to the National Assembly which was dated May 24.

House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Accounts has invited the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and the management of NPA to appear before it on July 8 over the queries by the OAUGF based on the audit carried out by Messrs Muhtari Dangana & Co and SIAO (Chartered Accountants).

TheAuditor-General said the management of the NPA spent N409.17bn on property, plant and equipment in 2018 without sufficient and appropriate audit evidence to confirm the completeness, existence and valuation of the assets.

Out of the money, the NPA was said to have made ‘provision for depreciation charged in the accounts that would appear to be understated by N12.49bn’.

The report read, “It was observed during vetting that the provisions made againstfour classes of property, plant and equipment, namely roads and sidings, wharves, vessels and buoys, did not correspond to the rates of depreciation reported in the financial statements.

“The depreciation rates that were charged on the assets were smaller than the rates arrived at during vetting.

“The understatement of depreciation by N12,486,991,000 resulted in the apparent over statement of the Net Book value of the fixed assets and understatement of the surplus for the year by the same amount. An explanation would be appreciated”, it said.

Furthermore,the Auditor-General said wharves were disposed of by the management of the NPA at the cost of N254.83bn without evidence of remittance to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, while demanding that the number of wharves disposed of, the cost and evidence of remittance be provided.

Also, the auditor-general said the authority reduced the sum of N126.63bn in the period under review to arrive at trade receivable of N43.51bn.

Aghughu said, “This showed very weak debt recovery efforts on the part of the management of Nigerian Ports Authority.

The minutes of the meeting where the group decided that these debts should be impaired should be provided. Detailed explanations should be given for the inability of the authority to recover its huge outstanding receivables. The detailed schedule of all the parties involved should be furnished.

NPA is also to explain how the N1.88bn meant for Staff Home Ownership Scheme was administered, considering the fact that the authority severed relationship with Aso Savings and Loans Plc, the company that served as an agent for the creation of mortgages and the subsequent collections of repayments on the same mortgages.

The management, which had made an advance payment of N4.65bn, was asked to providea schedule showing the names of the individual contractor, nature of thecontract, contract sum, the amount of advance granted, age analysis of each of the advance and the unconditional performance guaranty supplied by the contractors should be furnished, Punch reported.

The auditor-general also asked the NPA to pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, the sum of N2.33bn being money collected from the disputed cargo tracking note by the NPA, which had been kept in a dedicated account until July 2017 when the Economic and Financial Crime Commission directed First City Monument Bank that had been the custodian of the fund, to transfer the fund to an EFCC account.

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