The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been asked to explain how the sum of $4.5 billion went unaccounted for in Nigeria’s foreign reserve account between 2018 and 2019.
The discrepancy was made known in an audit report from the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAuGF).
The yearly report on audit provides comprehensive information about the spending and financial affairs of the various ministries, departments, and agencies under the government throughout a fiscal year.
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According to the report, Foreign Reserves, which stood at US$42,594,842,852.75 in December 2018, decreased to US$38,092,720,200.72 in 2019. By a simple calculation, US$4,502,122,652.03 could not be accounted for.
The report detailed that the violation occurred during the COVID-19 outbreak, while Godwin Emefiele was in charge as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
ADULAWO News reports that following the discovery of the discrepancy, the Auditor-General of the Federation, Shaakaa Chira, has asked the CBN to provide an explanation for the missing funds.
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“This violates Section 25 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 mandating the Bank to endeavour to maintain external reserves at levels considered to be appropriate for the economy and the monetary system of Nigeria,” the report noted.
The report also revealed an ‘unsubstantiated’ decline of over $8 billion in foreign reserves between 2019 and 2020. According to the Auditor-General, as of the close of business on 30 June 2020, total reserves stood at $35.7 billion as against $44.7 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 30 June, 2019.
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“The above anomalies could be attributed to weaknesses in the internal control system at the CBN, particularly its inability to effectively manage economic variables that could impact negatively on the reserve”, he said.