ABUJA-THE House of Representatives committee on Public Accounts, yesterday ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to refund the sum of N1,015b to the Consolidated Revenue Account ,CRA, for a contract for the supply of 65 million ballot papers for the 2007 Presidential election.
This was due to the inability of the bank to provide satisfactory evidence of the transaction which the House committee said was paid for twice by the Federal Government.
The committee had invited the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission ,INEC,, Prof. Atahiru Jega, the Permanent Secretary of State House, Emmanuel Ogbila as well as the Acting Governor of CBN, Sarah to give accounts of the transaction.
Director, Corporate Services, Dipo Fatokun a representative of CBN, in his submission said there was no double payment for he transaction.
He explained that â€œthere was no double payment for the transaction. When we first appeared before the Committee, we did not check our records very well and that was why we thought there were double payment.
â€œBut now, we have checked our records very well and discovered that there were no double payment. Our records showed that there was no payment made for the memo from he State House because it was kept in view.
The Committee rejected the submission of the Fatokun.
The cpmmittee declared that State House statement of account generated from CBN showed that cheques for the transaction an debit entries were contradictory.
Two cheques for N262m and N763m could not be found in the statement while two debit figure of N10.5m and N1.4b in respect of the transaction were suspicious.
The Committee also expressed suspicion over the legitimacy of the transaction as the money remitted to South Africa for the supply was less than what was approved.
INEC boss was also requested to confirm the receipt of the 65 million ballot papers but Jega pleaded for time to check the Commissionâ€™s records as he was not there at he time.
Defending the apex bank, Fatokun said it was a service commission and that commercial money deposit banks would have charged more.
Responding the Olamilekan said â€œWho authorized the CBN to reduce the contract sum? The money approved was N1.015b but CBN remitted less, this brings us to doubt if the transaction was actually consummated?
â€œIn view of this development, the CBN is ordered to remit to the Consolidated Revenue Account, the sum if N1.015b within one week,â€ Chairman of the Committee ruled.