$49.8bn Oil Fund: No Money Is Missing-NNPC
Senate C'ttee concludes probe, adjourns sine die BEVERLY HILLS, March 13, (THEWILL) - The Group Managing Director, (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr.
Andrew Yakubu, on Thursday declared that no money is missing from its coffer contrary to the allegation made by suspended governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi The declaration came even as the Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr.
Samuel Ukura, embarked upon forensic checks of the Corporation's account, with a view to ascertaining the true position of the income and expenditure of the establishment, vis-a-vis the alleged missing fund.
Sanusi had before his suspension alleged that the NNPC failed to remit to the Federation Account the sum of $49.
8 billion which accrued from crude oil sales within the period under review.
Consequently, with the resolution of the Senate, the Senate Committee on Finance, under the chairmanship of Senator Ahmed Makarafi, commenced investigation into the allegation in December 2013.
The NNPC had from the inception of the public hearing, insisted that there was no missing fund as alleged.
Addressing the press Thursday after meeting with the Committee for final clarification on the controversial missing fund, Yakubu stood by his initial position that the account of the Corporation as far as the transactions carried out within the period under investigation is concerned did not have any impropriety.
In his explanation, he said: "We have made our submission and we gave a detailed breakdown.
Like I said last week, for us, this is a wonderful opportunity to give detailed account of what we do.
Really, like we have always said, the misunderstanding about the industry is so wide and we have this duty and we are happy we have this opportunity.
Today, we gave a clear detailed breakdown of what we remitted to the Federation Account.
"That was confirmed and the international oil companies, (IOCs) took their own share because they are partners in the business.
"So, for us it is an opportunity to explain in details our activities, our remittances and what is due to other parties.
Again let me seize this opportunity to appeal to the media on how we present this controversial issue to the public.
What we keep hearing is that $20bn is missing.
" The GMD explained that there were various partners that participated in the oil business, and needed to take their own shares of the revenue, pointing out that the alleged missing fund actually went to the business partners according to the arrangement made with the NNPC.
"If you have been following the activities here, you will see clearly that everybody that participated in the business arrangement is entitled to his own share.
The banks are entitled to their own share; the equity contributors are entitled to their own share, so you cannot take $20 billion and give it to Nigeria alone; there are other people that contribute.
So, what we have simply done is to give a detailed analysis of the various streams that belong to all the key players in the entire business arrangement.
" Yakubu lamented that the allegation of missing fund leveled against the nation's oil corporation had dangerous consequences on the economy, as it was capable of driving or discouraging investors from investing in the country.
"So, I want to appeal that we go back to correct this impression that money is missing; that is sending a very bad signal about Nigeria to the international community.
We need foreign direct investment in this country to add value to the economic development of this country.
"We have given a detailed account, no money is missing, each business is governed by a different business arrangement, if you do not trace it to the business arrangement and the governance structure, you will not understand, now you heard here, we had under lifting and reconciliation are held quarterly, when you reconcile, ,you will be able to balance your books and come up with the true position of things.
So I am saying, it is too hasty for people to say that money is missing and apportion such a large amount.
"You have seen how we have broken them down to the various business arrangement and how monies are accounted for in various arrangements, the fact that money is not seen in the Federation Account does not mean the money did not go to other beneficiaries," he said.
On the other hand, the chairman of the investigative committee, Senator Ahmed Makarafi, disclosed that the Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr.
Samuel Ukura, had written his Committee that he had begun a forensic checks on the accounts of the NNPC.
The Auditor-General had last Friday told the legislators that his office was constrained by Section 85(2) of the Constitution from auditing any agency of government, explaining that he could only do a periodic checks of such institutions.
Makarafi also pointed out that the Senate Committee on Finance had appointed independent consultants to carry out a forensic audit of the NNPC, saying the report of the auditors, which would be submitted next week would guide the Committee to form an opinion on the expenses and losses of the Corporation, amounting to the sum of $2.
1 billion , which was yet to be traced to anything or person in the course of the investigation.
His words: "The other report we are expecting is that the committee appointed independent consultants to do forensic examination and audit on the volume of expenses you incurred.
We expect their report by the end of next week.
And their independent report is what will enable us form an opinion on the expenses and losses totaling about $2.
1 billion based on your submission accounting for that money.
"The other issue which we don't have to wait before we make our report is, the Auditor-General of the Federation has written formally to the committee confirming he is conducting forensic checks and that the forensic checks comprehensively cover our areas of concern, and that he is going to send the report of forensic check or audit to us.
It would not stop us making our report subject to whatever he may present to the National Assembly.
He would make a report directly to the National Assembly on this.
" Meanwhile, Makarafi has announced that the Senate Investigative Committee had adjourned sine die.
He said, "In respect of unremitted revenue, we have received virtually all that we need to receive.
The rest are what I enumerated; reports of our own independent forensic auditors on the expenses and other losses totaling $2.
1 billion and final certification from PPPRA July to December 2013 on subsidy.
"That is what will make us finalise our work and make our report to the senate.
But in the course of our technical consideration of the submissions to arrive at specific decisions, if we find the need to call any one of you to further clarify anything to us, we would not hesitate to do so.
In view of this and in the absence of any other thing, I would adjourn this sitting sine die.
" EMMA UCHE, ABUJA