By Udeme Akpan
THE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has been accused of failing to remit $629 million, being proceeds from its operations and the interest accruing to it in five different banks.
Investigations showed that an account in Sterling Bank with number 0023515951 holds $26,560,076.76, while $16.6 million is in an account with number 1006160930 in Keystone Bank.
However, NNPC spokesman, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said the accounts were not illegal, having been approved by the government and well known to many institutions, including the CBN and the Ministry of Finance.
He also described the allegation as not only misplaced but also misleading, adding that if it had earlier taken steps to inform the Presidency, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Central bank of Nigeria on the existence of the accounts.
Vanguard gathered that $277.8 million is in Diamond Bank account 0033789960, while $19 million sits in two different accounts with First-Bank, $12 million is in a current account numbered 2006307767 and $6.9 million is in another FirstBank Escrow account with number 2016965894.
This brings the total to $340,102,485.10. It was learned that another $289 million is placed via two separate cheques with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
According to sources, requests from relevant offices to the NNPC to remit the said total of $629,093,716.77 to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company TSA account as is the practice, had been rebuffed for reasons yet undisclosed.
It was learned that NNPC’s management had consistently flouted the TSA rule but the volume of money involved and the fact that relevant queries were raised by appropriate offices but ignored may have thrown the Presidency into a rage.
In a statement, the NNPC said: “We once again provide informed perspective to the trending media report alleging that the corporation colluded with some banks to prevent the remittance of some funds into the Treasury Single Accounts, TSA, scheme as directed by the Federal Government.”
The corporation described the allegation as not only misplaced but also misleading, adding that it had earlier taken steps to inform the Presidency, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, OAGF, and the Central Bank of Nigeria,, CBN, on the existence of the said accounts, prior to the creation of the Federal Government Asset Recovery Account.
The NNPC explained that it would be totally out of place to move the funds to the FG Asset Recovery Account as reported, noting that it was unreasonable and sheer waste of funds to pay any agent five percent, whistle blowing fee for the phantom recovery of genuine NNPC funds, which had been disclosed to the Presidency, CBN and other relevant stakeholders.
The Corporation said that based on this superior argument, the consultant appointed by government to investigate the alleged hidden remittances was instructed to withdraw the pending court case against some commercial entities at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
The statement explained that in line with the directive of the Presidency, the apex bank is supervising the remittance of these funds to the CBN TSA Account and it has made great strides in this regard.
The NNPC reiterated that as an entity with fiduciary responsibility to the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, its commitment to transparency and accountability remained unwavering.”