House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has written to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) following the audit query of the Auditor General of the Federation on the $20.3 billion illegal withdrawals from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) account, requesting full details.
The Committee which showed dissatisfaction with the explanations so far given by NNPC also asked for the comprehensive financial records of the corporation with expenditure details of funds utilization from the inception of NLNG to date.
The Committee’s request was contained in a letter with Reference No: HR/PAC/SCO5/9NASS/QUE.9/974 dated 7th December, 2020 signed by its Chairman, Hon. Oluwole Oke and addressed to the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari.
The letter was acknowledged on the 10th December, 2020.
“I refer to your presentation on the above subject matter at a session with the Committee on Thursday, 3rd December, 2020 confirming the withdrawal of the sum of $20.3 billion from the account by NNPC.
“In view of the above, you are to furnish all records of the withdrawals from the account and the utilization of the fund from inception to date,” the Committee stated.
Earlier in its response, the NNPC via a letter with Reference No: GGM/GPAD/01 dated November 9, 2020 and signed by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. K. A. Obateru said it had made a presentation on the illegal withdrawals.
“Following your request for information, we hereby submit 46 copies of NNPC’s presentation on the illegal withdrawals from the NLNG by NNPC and 46 copies of our response to issues raised in the Auditor General’s 2014 report on the Federation Account relating to NNPC.”
The presentation was however preceded by the breakdown of the receipts and disbursements from NNPC NLNG Dividend Account from inception to date communicated to the House Committee via a letter with Reference No: GMD.49 dated 30th October, 2020 and signed by the NNPC Chief Financial Officer, Umar Ajiya Isa.
“In line with Government’s directive on the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the NLNG Dividends go into the CBN/NNPC NLNG Depository USD Account domiciled with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“From inception to date, the sum of US$21,685,647,923.39 was received into the NNPC NLNG Dividend Account while the sum of US$20,300,772,850 was disbursed from the Account leaving a credit balance of US$1,384,875,073.39 as at 30th June, 2020 as tabulated below”, the letter read.
Further details of the presentation showed that the initial deposit was $6,564,691.99; Dividends $18,574,610,988.35; Loan Repayment – $2,097,671,579.37; Refund of Train 6 Funding Balance – $321,817,005.33; Interest on Loan – $337,757,245.33; Interest on Account – $347,226,413.03 totaling $21,685,647,923.39 out of which the sum of $20,300,772,850 was disbursed leaving balance of $1,384,875,073.39.
The attached documents to the cover letter submitted by NNPC to the Committee with Reference No: GMD.49 dated 30th October, 2020 and signed by NNPC Chief Financial Officer, Dr. Umar Ajiya Isa also showed that the Corporation disbursed the sum of $1,854,041.47 to NLNG secretariat; NLNG scheme 4 top up got $159.250 million; Brass LNG Scheme funding got $574,420,529.92; West African Gas Pipeline got $259,900,409; N-Gas (Takoradi, CEB Account, Gas Monitoring Station got $9,433,400; Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline got $1,278,810.50; Olokola LNG got 216,928,550.55 while security project got $1.520 billion.
The report also stated that the sum of $4,372,371,348.19 was transferred to Federal Government of Nigeria; Product Importation Loan to NNPC worth $5 billion; $3,335,335,760 spent on Paris Club Refund; Sovereign Wealth Fund got $1.050 billion; $1.200 billion for 2016 JV Cash Call Balance and $2.6 billion spent on National Fuel Support Fund.
It will be recalled that the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC Chief Elias Mbam while making a presentation on the matter in one of the Committee’s previous sittings frowned at the unilateral deduction of the $20.3 billion from the NLNG Dividends Account by NNPC.
“That the NNPC or any other agency does not have the powers under the law to withdraw money from the NLNG Dividend Account for any other purpose outside remitting it into the Federation Account”, he had said.
According to Mbam, his Commission “does not support any diversion of revenue that should accrue to the Federation Account for whatever reason, as the practice is illegal and conflict with section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”