Sunday, March 26, 2023

Reps probe NNPC’s multiple accounts

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Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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The House of Representatives has mandated Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to provide details of all its multiple accounts operated before the introduction of Treasury Single Account, TSA.

The House gave the charge in Abuja on Tuesday through its Ad hoc Committee investigating the 17 billion dollars undeclared crude exported.

This is to enable the committee to ascertain the actual amount accrued from the sale of crude oil and payments into Federation Account and level of compliance with extant financial regulations.

Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas, Chairman and members of the adhoc committee had expressed concern over the 47,366,887 barrels differential in the documents submitted to the Adhoc Committee by NNPC and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

Others are Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), NIMASA and Nigerian Navy

According to the documents submitted to the Adhoc Committee, 13 oil companies over lifted 7,423,266 barrels of crude in 2011 while 18 companies over lifted 20,367,803 barrels of crude in 2012.

Namdas, who confirmed that OICs paid directly into the CBN Petroleum Profit Tax FIRS account, expressed concern over NNPC denial of the account.

According to him, Shell Petroleum specifically paid over two billion dollars into the account as BO/Shell/NNPC in 2012.

But in swift response to the issue, Mr Chris Akamairo, NNPC’s General Manager, Finance Crude Oil and Marketing Division, explained that “no operator can pay cash call” into the account directly.

The lawmakers also queried the corporation for failing to give details of the money paid into the Petroleum Profit Tax account on behalf of Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.

The amount they said is 8.8 billion dollars accrued from 80,069,372 barrels of crude which the corporation claimed that SPDC lifted as well as the disparity between NNPC and DPR records on crude lifted by Star Deepwater, SNEPCO and Total Upstream.

While responding, Mr Roland Ewubare, NNPC’s Acting chief operating officer (Upstream) who dismissed the report, argued that the observed differentials were not realistic, adding that the 43,348,571 barrels for 2011 was 73 cargoes.

Ewubare who denied the reports of NIMASA and Nigerian Navy’s on the 3.2mbpd crude production in 2014, argued that OPEC would have slammed Nigeria for producing beyond the approved quota.

He added that it was also impossible for a cargo to load 10,271,091 barrels of crude as alleged by Customs in its report.

Mr Ewubare while noting that a standard cargo can lift 950,000 barrels, further informed the committee that the nominated production level was different from actual production.

Rep. Johnson Agbonayinman (Edo-PDP) who argued that the OICs cannot be prosecuted in isolation of the government agencies, urged the AGF to ensure that government officials found culpable should be brought to book.

Mr Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, confirmed that there were nine ongoing cases filed in Abuja and Lagos against some companies including Chevron, Total, Agip, Adax Petroleum and Brass Oil Services Limited, aimed at ensuring strategic recovering of stolen hydrocarbon and liquefied gas.

According to him, President Goodluck Jonathan via a letter dated Nov. 29, 2013 through the AGF’s office approved the request by NIMASA to enter into agreement with a forensic firm, Molecular Power System Limited to execute the retainership agreement on the recovery of the stolen crude.

He, however, noted that federal government had not commenced the determination whether to institute criminal charges against the affected companies.

Malami, who urged the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of two bills critical to the fight against corruption, namely: Proceeds of Crime and Whistle Blower with dispatch, stressed the need for synergy between the three arms of government.

He disclosed that the TSA and whistle blower policies had helped in blocking leakages within the system, adding that “those laws that add sense and meaning should be treated with dispatch so as not to allow impunity to reign in the system.”

He maintained that the series of litigations and appeals filed by the OICs were responsible for the delay in the determination of the cases.

The AGF also urged the National Assembly to exercise its constitutional powers which had force of law to compel any government officials to comply with its resolutions.

NNPC team affirmed that the Corporation operated multiple accounts. It pledged to provide details of the accounts to the committee.

They also explained that the data submitted to the ad hoc committee did not reflect the brought forward of crude under lifted by the oil companies, but assured that the 2010 crude lifting will be submitted to the committee.

The delegation which denied knowledge of the CBN Petroleum Profit Tax FIRS, noted that only FIRS can ascertain the amount accrued into the account.

“No one in NNPC will have record for that (CBN, PPT, FIRS) account, all we do is to take the account number where the money is paid into.

“We will not know it because we do not manage that account. We only help FIRS to pay the money into the account,” Mr Ewubare said.

He further disclosed that all the monies accrued from the sale of crude were paid into JP Morgan’s account.

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