The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) has indicted the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) for failing to prepare its audited financial reports for four years, from 2010 to 2013.
At a meeting between the two government agencies in Abuja on Tuesday, the Chairman, FRC, Chief Victor Muruako, threatened to prosecute the BPE and other agencies that continued to contravene the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
The Head of Investigation, FRC, Mr. Umar Hadejia, said the BPE had failed to honour its pledge of N81.8m as arrears of its operating surplus for 2007.
He said, “It is pertinent to note that since the commencement of investigation on the BPE, it has only submitted audited statements of accounts for 2007 to 2009.
“It is clear that the BPE is in breach of Section 22 (1) and (2) of the FRA, 2007, pertaining to the payment of operating surplus, and Section 23 (3) of the same Act, which states that government agencies shall, not more than three months after end of its financial year, cause to be prepared and published its audited financial reports as stated.”
The representative of the BPE at the meeting, who is the Head of Central Accounts, Mr. Sanusi Ali, explained that the agency had not been able to prepare its audited accounts over the four-year period because of the delay in getting its 2009 accounts approved.
According to him, the 2009 accounts were only approved in 2012.
He explained that there was no way the agency could go ahead with another audited accounts when a previous year’s had not been approved.
Ali also said that it was difficult to get the National Council on Privatisation chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan, when he was the vice president, to sit to approve the 2009 audited accounts because of the political impasse in the country then.
He said between 2007 and 2014, the BPE has had five director-generals, adding that the frequent changes in the leadership of the organisation had affected its ability to comply with the accounting law.
Ali raised a fundamental issue, contending that the BPE was required by law to remit 100 per cent of privatisation proceeds and, therefore, could not be said to have any operating surplus to the Consolidated Account of the Federation.
Muruako said the failure of the BPE to prepare its audited accounts was a big infraction of the law for which the FRC could be forced to report the matter.
He said, “The BPE is withholding its financial statements for whatever reason that is not acceptable to us. It is condemnable. We may be forced to do the needful and report the agency.
“The issue of the VP chairing the NCP should be kept out of this matter. The BPE has a chief executive. The BPE is in contravention of the law for not submitting its financial statements for 2010 to 2013. The agency is in contravention for not submitting its budget for 2013.”
The FRC chairman added that the BPE was not copying agencies chaired by the vice president that had up-to-date financial reports.