*Berates NNPC GMD over refusal to appear before parliament
By Gift Chapi Odekina
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has demanded that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), provide full details of the $20.3 billion said to have been illegally withdrawn from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) accountas contained in the audit query of the Auditor-General of the Federation before the Natiional Assembly.
The Committee made the request via a letter with Reference No: HR/PAC/SCO5/9NASS/QUE.9/974 dated 7th December, 2020 signed by its Chairman, Hon. Oluwole Oke (PDP-OSUN), and addressed to the NNPC Group Managing Director, Malam Mele Kyari.
The lawmakers who expressed dissatisfaction with the explanations so far given by NNPC, also asked for the comprehensive financial records of the corporation with expenditure details of funds utilisation from the inception of NLNG to date.
The letter reads: ‘’I refer to your presentation on the above subject matter at a session with the Committee on Thursday, December 3, 2020 confirming the withdrawal of the sum of $20.3 billion from the account by NNPC. In view of the above, you are to furnish all records of the withdrawals from the account and the utilisation of the fund from inception to date.’’
Earlier in its response, the NNPC via a letter with reference No: GGM/GPAD/01 dated November 9, 2020 and signed by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kenny Obateru said it had made a presentation on the illegal withdrawals.
“Following your request for information, we hereby submit 46 copies of NNPC’s presentation on the illegal withdrawals from the NLNG by NNPC and 46 copies of our response to issues raised in the Auditor General’s 2014 report on the Federation Account relating to NNPC.”
The presentation was followed by the breakdown of the receipts and disbursements from NNPC NLNG Dividend Account from inception to date communicated to the House Committee via a letter with Reference No: GMD.49 dated 30th October, 2020 and signed by the NNPC’s Chief Financial Officer, Umar Ajiya Isa.
According to the letter, ‘’In line with Government’s directive on the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the NLNG Dividends go into the CBN/NNPC NLNG Depository USD Account domiciled with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). From inception to date, the sum of $21,685,647,923.39 was received into the NNPC NLNG Dividend Account while the sum of $20,300,772,850 was disbursed from the Account leaving a credit balance of $1,384,875,073.39 as at 30th June, 2020 as tabulated below”.
This came just as the Committee again frowned at the continued refusal of the GMD of the NNPC to appear before the Parliarment over queries raised by the office of the Author General of the Federation and the 17 Subsidiaries of the Corporation.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon Wole Oke lamented that the GMD was in the habit of delegating Junior officers to write to the Parliarment on his behalf when even the President of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buihari write to the Parliarment personally without delegating his Executive power because of his respect for the Parliarment.
He urged the NNPC boss to brace up and respect the Constitution of land by appearing before the Committee as well as the Heads of the Corporation’s 17 Subsidiaries to speak all the pending queries on their names to avoid the full weight of the law of the land.