Sanusi insists $20 billion oil money still missing

By The Rainbow

The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, on Tuesday stuck to his claims about the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) diverting some funds meant for the Federation Account.

However, Sanusi has scaled down the amount which he alleges to be missing to $20 billion, after acknowledging that some of the amount in his earlier charge had been clarified through inter-agency reconciliation.

The CBN governor had in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan written in September 2013 but leaked to the media in December alleged that the NNPC had diverted the sum of $49.8 billion

The governor, who was recently queried by President Jonathan for making politically biased donations totally close to $1 billion, modified his claims in his presentation before the Senate Committee on Finance which is currently investigating the alleged $49.8bn missing fund from the Federation Account.

Sanusi has fallen out of favour with the Jonathan's presidency, which believes that the CBN governor ought to have done more effective internal checks before coming up with its largely un-substantiated claims.

There are reports that the President had asked the governor, whose tenure expires in June, to resign; but the Sanusi had refused pleading CBN act, which stipulates that he could only be removed by two-third majority in the National Assembly.

Sanusi told the Senate Committee on Finance that the NNPC was yet to repatriate to the Federation Account, a sum of $20bn out of the $67bn crude it sold.

NNPC in its earlier reactions highlighted the CBN governors ignorance about the operations of the oil industry, underscoring the fact that he did not even know the actual amount of oil lifted.

In Sanusi letter to the president, he had claimed that about $50 billion of crude was lifted at the period in question, while the NNPC said that actually $67 billion was lifted.

Sanusi submitted  a 20-page written document backed up with another 30-page appendix to prove his point. The governor told the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led committee that certain level of reconciliation had been achieved between the apex bank, the NNPC and other relevant agencies since the alleged missing fund became a public issue. He said, 'The NNPC did a presentation. We have all agreed earlier that $14bn out of the $67bn dollars they shipped came in to the dollar account of the federation. That is agreed. 'We have looked at the Federal Inland Revenue Service numbers and we have confirmed that $16bn paid by international oil companies to the FIRS account was not paid by the NNPC but paid by IOCs. 'It was the proceeds of crude lifted in the name of NNPC but sold on behalf of FIRS. That $16bn had been confirmed by FIRS and had accepted. There is $1.6bn dollars that the Department of Petroleum Resources also received from IOCs which was part of that crude and which CBN had accepted. 'We have provided evidence in the naira crude account out of the $28bn domestic crude shipped by the NNPC, it had repartriated $16bn. Out of the $67bn that has acrued to the NNPC account we have accounted for $47bn. 'That is, out of the $67 bn dollars that the NNPC shipped, $47bn had been repatriated to the CBN. What we are talking about is the balance of the $20bn and what explanations had been given .' Sanusi told the committee that the NNPC had said some of it does not belong to the federation account so, but that it had established that some of the crude shipped by the NPDC was shipped from oil wells that belonged to the federation. He also accused the NNPC of transferring revenues that should go to the federation account for remittance. He added, 'I have given free legal opinion to this committee, on the unconstitutionality and illegality of that transaction. Secondly, NNPC had explained that 80 percent of that money yet to be repatriated, on kerosene and fuel subsidy. 'I have submitted to this committee, written evidence of a presidential directive eliminating subsidy since 2009, and NNPC needs to provide its authority for buying kerosene at N150 and from the federation account and selling at N40 and inflicting that loss on the federation. 'NNPC had also said that it is DPR but for us in the CBN, every month, NNPC sends report for the FAAC. And every month NNPC indicates how much it has deducted as PMS subsidy. 'From April 2012 to date, NNPC had submitted reports to the FAAC consistently showing it is deducting nothing from PMS so we are surprised that having submitted nil returns since April 2012 we are now being told now that deductions were being made. ' I don't know whether they were made and whether the DPR had approved them. We are waiting for the reconciliation with the PPRA.The other part of third party financing which were not appropriated had no documentation or proofs. 'All we have said as CBN to which there is no disagreement is that NNPC shipped $67bn worth of crude they have repatriated or we have established that $47bn has come back to the federation. 'There is a $20bn that has not come back to us. The burden of proof is on NNPC We have made suggestions that can help to answer some of the explanation and we believe that even some of that which they claimed were shipped by NPDC does not belong to the NPDC but to the federation.' But the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, told journalists after the meeting that his agency was still reconciling and that it was at the point of conclusion on the reconciliation process with the various agencies.