Senate probes $48.9bn unremitted NNPC funds

By The Rainbow

The Senate on Wednesday waded in the controversy over the $48.9 billion dollars oil money allegedly missing from the account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by mandating its finance committee to probe the allegation and report back to it 'in less than seven days.'

The Central Bankof Nigeria (CBN) had in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, which was leaked to the media, alleged that the NNPC had failed to remit that humgous amount to the Federation Account between 2012 and 2013.

The NNPC fired back alleging that the apex ban k was fundamentally uninformed on the modus operandi of the corporation, urging agencies of government to make clarification with sister agencies before making such misinformed allegation.

The Senates decision to probe the allegation followed a matter of urgent national importance raised by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (Ekiti North), who cited Order 42 of the Senate Standing Rules which allows a senator to draw the attention of the Senate President to a matter he considers to be of national importance.

Adetumbi, who cited media reports,  described the issue as a serious matter which, according to him, required the prompt intervention of the Senate, emphasising that such matter borders on integrity of the corporation.

The Senate President, David Mark, who presided the plenary, directed that the matter be thoroughly  investigated. He asked Adetumbi to lay the documents at his disposal on the issue on the table as he agreed with him that it was a sensitive matter.

He then referred the matter to the finance committee. The committee is expected to summon both the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as NNPC with a view to unraveling the truth on the matter.

Adetumbi built his case  on a letter addressed to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmad Lawan, by the CBN where the apex financial institution said by its record, the NNPC ought to remit $65.3 billion to its coffers between January 2012 – July 2013.

According to the letter, instead of remitting the total sum of $65,332,350,514.57 billion, the oil body only remitted paltry $15,528,410,098.77 and thus implying that the corporation held back whopping $48.9 during the period under review.