Reps panel seeks explanation on NNPC’s withdrawal of $20.3b from NLNG account

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Nigeria House of Representatives. [PHOTO: Twitter/HouseNGR]

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has yet again requested the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to provide details of how the $20.3b it allegedly withdrew from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) was used.

Its request was contained in a letter with reference No: HR/PAC/SCO5/9NASS/QUE.9/974 dated December 7, 2020, signed by its Chairman, Oluwole Oke and addressed to Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari.

The letter was acknowledged on December 10, 2020.

The committee’s position was based on what it described as an unsatisfactory response to NNPC’s explanations on Thursday, December 3, 2020 on the alleged illegal withdrawals.

NNPC had in a letter marked: GGM/GPAD/01 dated November 9, 2020 and signed by General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. K. A. Obateru, made a presentation on the alleged withdrawal based on the query from the Auditor General’s 2014 report on the Federation Account.

In an earlier communication to the committee with Reference No: GMD.49 dated October 30, 2020 and signed by Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of NNPC, Umar Ajiya Isa, the corporation presented details of receipts and disbursements from NNPC/NLNG Dividend Account from inception to date.

“In line with the Federal Government’s directive on the Treasury Single Account (TSA), NLNG Dividends are domiciled with the CBN/NNPC/NLNG Depository USD Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“From inception to date, $21.6b was received in the NNPC/NLNG Dividend Account, while $20.3b was disbursed leaving a credit balance of $1.3b as at June 30, 2020,” he said.

Initial deposit of $6.5m, dividends of $18.5b, loan repayment ($2.097b), refund of train six funding balance ($321.8m), interest on loan ($337.7m) and interest on account ($347.2m), amounted to $21.6b of which $20.3b was disbursed, leaving a balance of $1.3b.

The attached documents to the cover letter NNPC submitted to the committee marked: GMD.49, dated October 30, 2020, also showed that the corporation disbursed $1.8m to NLNG Secretariat, NLNG Scheme 4 top up got $159.2m, Brass LNG Scheme funding received $574.4m, West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) got $251m, N-Gas (Takoradi CEB Account) Gas Monitoring Station ($9.4m), Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline ($1.2m), Olokola LNG ($217m) and security project ($1.5b).

The report also revealed that $4.3b was transferred to the Federal Government, Product Importation Loan to NNPC was worth $5b, while $3.3b was spent on Paris Club Refund, Sovereign Wealth Fund ($1.050b), 2016 JV Cash Call Balance ($1.2b) and $2.6b was spent on National Fuel Support Fund.

The Guardian recalled that Chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mba, opposed NNPC’s withdrawal of $20.3b from the NLNG Dividends Account.

Mba, who expressed concern over the development, stressed that the commission never supported diversion of revenue from the Federation Account for any reason, insisting that such practice was illegal and contravened section 162 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“NNPC or any other agency does not have the powers to withdraw money from the NLNG Dividend Account for other purposes, besides remitting it to the Federation Account,” he added.


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