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Under Buhari’s Watch: Customs failed to remit N125bn into national treasury in 2019 – Audit report

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THE Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) failed to remit N125 billion into the consolidated revenue account, a newly released report by the Auditor-General’s Office has shown.

The report is titled ‘OAuGF Annual Report on Non-Compliance/Internal Control Weakness Issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs),’

The report, prepared for the year ended  December 31, 2019, was signed by the Auditor-General for the Federation Aghughu Adolphus on September 15, 2021.

But the NCS is not the only defaulting government establishment. There are about 14 others found culpable of similar allegations.

They are Anambra-Imo River Basin Development Authority (RBDA), Owerri; the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR); Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN): Kwali Area Council; Lagos State University (LASU); National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu; three Federal Medical Centres (FMC) and Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital.

Others are: the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Council for Legal Studies, and the National Industrial Court.

While the NCS allegedly failed to pay N125 billion Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) into the government coffers, the remaining 14 government establishments defaulted with N1.28 billion (N1,284,427,345.04).

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The OAuGF also identified 12 MDAs, including the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which failed to remit value added tax (VAT), the With-holding Tax (WHT), among others, to the treasury.

The unremitted taxes were pegged at N5.83billion (N5,828,621,715.06), and NACA reportedly has the highest unpaid sum, which is N2.98billion (N2,984,887,250.00).

“Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries Technology, New Bussa has the least amount of N1m.”

The offence is said to have breached paragraphs 234 (I) and 235 of the Financial Regulations Act respectively.

“It is mandatory for accounting officers to ensure full compliance with the dual roles of making provision for the VAT and WHT due on supply services contract and actual remittance,” Section 234 stated.

“Deduction of VAT, WHT and PAYE shall be remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, at the same time, the payee who is the subject of the deduction is paid…”

Meanwhile, in a letter addressed to the Clerk of the National Assembly on September 15, 2021, Aghughu submitted two copies of the findings to the NASS for action.

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With reference number AuGF/AR.2019/02, the auditor-general said his action to the lawmakers was in line with Sections 85 (2), (4) and (5) of the constitution.

The lawmakers are, thus, expected to act on the federation’s annual report and the consolidated financial statements to prevent leakages in government spending.

Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Do you have a scoop? Shoot him an email at [email protected] Twitter Handle: @OluAdanikin

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