November 22, 2013

NNPC: Reps probe alleged non-remittance of $13.9bn

By Emman Ovuakporie and Levinus Nwabughiogu

ABUJA— The House of Representatives, yesterday, set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the non-remittance of $13.9 billion into the Federation Account by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

The committee was set up following a motion brought to the floor of the House by Haruna Manu, PDP, Taraba, entitled Urgent need to verify and ascertain the volume and value of crude oil sales from January 2013 to date.

The ad hoc committee has, therefore, been mandated to investigate the volume and value of crude oil sales and remittances into the Federation Account from January 2013 to date by NNPC and report back to the House within four weeks.

This followed recent revelations that NNPC has remitted only $7 billion out of $20.9 billion of crude oil sales this year.

Amaechi’s allegation

It will be recalled that barely a week ago, Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, reportedly alleged the disappearance of $5 billion from the Excess Crude Account and asked for explanations from relevant government agencies.

Manu rested his submissions on Sections 162 (1) and 162 (10) of the constitution, which states inter alia that ”the Federation shall maintain a special account to be called the Federation Account into which shall be paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation, except the proceeds from the personal income tax of the personnel of the armed forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police Force, the ministry or department of government charged with the responsibility for Foreign Affairs and the residents of the Federal Capital Territory.”

‘No proper accounts’

Manu, who noted that “a shortfall of 13 billion US Dollars is unaccounted for in the period of January to August 2013,” added that “from September to date, no proper accounts have been rendered by the NNPC or records kept to show the actual amount and volume of crude oil sales by the NNPC.”

He said there have been lingering issues of accountability and arbitrary management of oil revenue by NNPC, saying there was a need to compel the corporation to render accounts of how much it derived from crude oil sales within the period and the actual amount it paid into the Federation Account.

Contributing to the motion, Aminu Suleiman (PDP, Kano) and Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) argued that the investigation has become necessary considering the volume of the amount involved, saying an ad hoc committee would do a good job.

On their part, Hassan El-Badawy (APC, Yobe) and Yakubu Balogun (APC, Lagos) said the revelation was disturbing and such an act by NNPC jeopardises Nigeria’s future, arguing that the matter goes beyond the period raised by the mover of the motion to about five years.

Also, Warman Ogoriba (PDP, Bayelsa) argued that “I share the sentiments of my colleagues that there is no need for an ad hoc committee to look into the matter.

“I also have issues with the prayers of the mover of the motion that relate to finance and why are we always setting up ad hoc committees when we have substantive committees?“

After Ogoriba’s presentation, the Presiding Officer, Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, put the debate to a voice and the ayes had it.

The motion was seconded by Ralph Nnanna (PDP, Imo State).