Nigeria: Reps Panel Goes Tough on Missing N3.24 Trillion, Summons NNPC, CBN Chiefs

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House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts is going tough on the ‘missing’ the $19.25 billion, around N3.24 trillion that is yet to show on the account books of the Federal Government.

The House panel holds the view that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have to explain how the huge amount got ‘missing’.

To this end, the panel has summoned the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari; and the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, to explain to the Green Chamber of the bicameral Legislature why the $19.25 billion revenue that accrued from sales of crude oil in 2014 was not remitted.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Wole Oke, issued the summons based on audit queries issued by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) for the period.

The penultimate week, the panel had accused the NNPC chief of refusing to respond to an audit query issued against the national oil corporation over alleged illegal withdrawals from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited’s Dividends Account, totalling $20.3 billion.

Kyari, who was yet to appear before the federal legislators on the NLNG matter, had denied the allegation elsewhere.

In its report for 2014, the OAuGF said from the examination of NNPC mandates to the CBN on Domestic Crude Oil Sales and Reconciliation in the Statement of Technical Committee of Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting held in January 2014, it showed that ‘a total sum of N3,234,577,666,791.35 was not remitted to the Federation Account by NNPC within the period under review.”

The query further reads, “cost estimated for crude and product losses was N55,964,682,158.99, which is about 50 per cent of pipeline management cost of N110,402,541,010.88. Names of contractors, location and amount paid to each for the pipeline maintenance were not sighted for audit verification.

“Over 31 per cent – N826,506,271,231.26 – divided by N2,636,390,514,777.18 multiply by 100 per cent – of the realised crude sales for the year were earmarked as other expenses, apart from direct cost of production stated in NNPC reports for the year 2014. The breakdown of other expenses was not provided for audit.

“From the above analysis, it means that the Federation Account is losing 31 per cent (N826,506,271,231.26) being additional estimated cost from the total amount that should have accrue to Federation Account.”

Adding, the auditor-general said, “from the total revenue of N3,234,577,666,791.35 as at 14th January, 2015, payable to the Federation Account by NNPC during the year, the corporation deducted the sum of N826,506,271,231.26, i.e. N660,139,048,061.39, N55,964,682,158.99 and N110,402,541,010.88, for subsidy estimate, crude and product losses and pipeline management cost, respectively, at source thereby resulting to net amount withheld figure of N2,408,041,395,560.33 shown in the above table to the Federation Account.

“All these deductions at source by NNPC were not approved by FAAC.”

The OAuGF, therefore, requested the Accountant General of the Federation to inform the NNPC’s GMD to explain the flagrant withholding of domestic crude oil sales revenue by the corporation.

According to the auditor, there has been no positive response on similar issues raised in 2012.

The accountant-general consequently asked NNPC’s GMD to ‘provide names of the contractors, location, amount paid, to each for the pipeline maintenance for verification and the process being used by PPPRA for the repayment of subsidy to the oil marketers should be used for NNPC instead of the latter deducting the subsidy at source.”

The office also declared that deduction at source by NNPC must stop ‘henceforth as this is a contravention of Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution, which stipulates that ‘all revenue proceeds should be paid to the Federation Account’.

While the committee reviewed the response of the accountant-general, Oke and members of the panel insisted that the NNPC and CBN bosses should cause appearance in persons, as the accountant-general could not provide sufficient evidence on the audit query of such magnitude.

Kyari is also expected to respond to other audit queries, including subsidy payments totalling N248.27 billion which were not budgeted for in the 2014 Appropriation Act.

 

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