The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, on Thursday, October 20, 2016 blamed financial regulatory agencies including the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for the alleged transfer of $13.9bn by MTN Nigeria out of the country illegally.
The council also said that poor accountability of regulatory agencies should be blamed for the depletion of the country’s foreign reserves.
The executive secretary of the FRCN, Jim Obazee stated at a public hearing held by the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions on the alleged repatriation of $13.9 billion by MTN.
Obazee blamed the apex bank for the continued drop in Nigeria foreign reserves, which stood close to $30.2bn in July 2015 from $29.9bn it was in May 2015, but is now $24.2bn, according to the CBN’s financial report of last month. He stated that the problem was caused by poor and weak accountability by the regulator.
When asked by the committee what could account for the massive depletion of the nation’s foreign reserves, Obazee said, “The short answer to it is very poor and weak accountability and regulatory practice in Nigeria.
“The regulatory agencies are not working but if they are working definitely a lot of these infractions will not occur.
“You cannot have the security personnel at your gate who has suddenly left the gate open and then you said somebody stole your assets and you can’t find them.
“The regulatory agencies after all their submissions will definitely find their role in all of them because there are laws that they are supposed to protect.
“If you are not protecting them then definitely some openings like this where you see this depletion.
“The regulatory agencies themselves will need to check their own financial statement especially those who are supposed to account for our external reserves.
“If we continue to see a drop year in year out, there is supposed to be full explanation to the National Assembly or the government why our external reserves is dropping while there are inflows that are not adequately matched with outflows.”
The FRCN boss also claimed that the regulatory agencies had not submitted their financial reports for over four years.
He noted “You will be surprised that a number of government entities for the past four years could not prepare financial statements.
“These entities should not be entitled to budgetary funds because you have not accounted for the money that was given to you before.
He asked, “Why are you asking for new one?”