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NNPC OWES N842BN, NOT N450BN, NEITI TELLS REPS

By NBF News
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The House of Representatives was informed yesterday that the actual amount owed the Federation Account was in tune of N842 billion by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and not N450billion.

Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) told the Joint committee on Finance, Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream) and Gas Resources, probing the non -remittance of N450 billion by the NNPC into the Federation Account that it has documentary evidence to back up its claim.

Executive secretary of NEITI, Mrs Zainab Ahmed in her submission said that the debt profile of NNPC to the Federation Account was arrived at from the documents supplied by the Corporation for the period of 2004 to 2008.

According to her, the audit report on the activities of the NNPC during the period under review showed that the amount was actually deducted from oil proceeds, but not credited to the Federation Account.

'NNPC owes sum of N842billion as at 2008, we have details of what the NNPC owes month by month basis. This is the close balance as at December.

'As at December 2005, the amount stood at N654billion. We will help the committee, we have everything. We have all documents.'

When NEITI made the discovery, she told the panel that efforts were made to know from where NNPC got the authority to make the deductions. 'We even demanded if there was a subsisting government circular to back it up, but we were ignored.' Mrs Ahmed faulted the claims of the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Mr Elias Mbam, who told the Committee that the NNPC owes the Federation Account about N450 billion between the period under review. 'Like I said, before, NEITI has documents to back up our claims that amount is not N450billion, but in the range of N842 billion.'

She asked the committee to reject the claim of former Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Mr Funsho Kupolukun that NNPC did not owed the Federation Account a dime.

Following the submission of the NEITI, one of the co-chairmen of the panel, Hon Bassey Ewa, Chairman of Gas Resources Committee urged the Executive secretary to assist the investigation by making available documents to show that NNPC was actually indebted to the tune of N842 billion.

'Madam, you have documents at your disposal that you have not given us on this matter, we will give you up till tomorrow (Thursday) to produce all the documents that can help us on what we are investigating, we want to see how the new N842 billion came about, we need the details report that will guide us properly, we need all the audited reports to date'.

NEITI in its recommendations to check the financial recklessness of NNPC stated that adequate measures must be put in place by the Federation to restrict any unauthorized deductions from the crude oil proceeds by NNPC. The submission of the NEITI boss, forced the Committee to adjourn the sitting till today to enable her furnish it with the relevant documents to substantiate her claims.

Expected at today's hearing are the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Deziani Alison-Madueke, Accountant General of the Federation, Auditor General of the Federation, CBN Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and representatives of the Governors Forum, among others.