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By NBF News
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Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has denied that the Corporation is indebted to the Federation Account to the sum of N142.7 billion as claimed in the report by the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Abdulmumin Jibrin.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja Tuesday, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Engineer Andrew Yakubu who spoke through the General Manger in charge of media relations of the corporation, Dr. Umar Farouk Ibrahim said the Hon Jibril led Finance committee acted deliberately to damage the image of the NNPC by going to town with the report on the findings that were yet to be completed.

He noted that the NNPC management appeared before the House Committee on Finance headed by Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin early last month where they clarified position of the corporation on the issues raised by the Committee. 'At that meeting, it was agreed that the Committee would get the Office of the Accountant General to raise a team along with some members of the Committee within seven days to look at the Corporation's books and we promised to cooperate.

It should be noted that one week after that meeting, no one visited us at the NNPC. 'This prompted us to write a reminder to the Office of the Accountant General, who then replied to say that a team would come the following week. When we came to the House on 25th February, we informed the Committee that the team did not come and the chairman of the Committee got confirmation from the Accountant General that his team was coming to the NNPC during the week.

He said; 'curiously enough, even before the team could conclude their assignment Hon. Jibrin for reasons that we cannot fathom, but certainly calculated to put the Corporation in bad light went to town with news that his Committee has uncovered a debt of N142.7b that the Corporation was owing to the Federal Government.

'Our position is that the team had not completed its assignment for reasons we will explain shortly. 'Before that however, we should like to emphasize that strictly speaking NNPC cannot be expected to sweep funds into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, since the law specifically says it is surplus that should be so paid. In a situation where due to no fault of ours, we operate at a loss, there would not be any surplus to pay. Of course we are all living witnesses to the causes of our operational losses,' he stated.