Home News Reps committee uncovers unremitted $15b gas money

Reps committee uncovers unremitted $15b gas money

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Aerial view of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) plant at Bonny Island in Rivers State on March 22, 2013. Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) has threatened to shut down production in April for nine days in the entire Nembe Creek Truck Line (NCTL) to remove a number of bunkering points on pipelines vandalised by oil thieves in the region. "Whenever we observe a spill, or have a spill on our lines, we shut down production to depressurize and isolate the line, only then can we safely repare our lines because it is then safe to manipulate the line", said Jurgen Jonzen, SPDC corporate pipeline asset manager. Last year, 157 bunkering points were removed and 116 were leaking on the whole SPDC exploitation. Since 2009, SPDC has exprienced an upsurge in vandalisation of pipeline network by criminals causing severe environmental devastation of the region and forcing the company to lose 60 000 barrels daily this year.

By Abiemwense Moru

House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee investigating allegedly missing $17 billion crude oil and Liquefied Natural Gas revenue, on Monday uncovered $15 billion unremitted revenue into Federation Account.

The trace of the alleged missing fund believed to have been stolen and diverted to a foreign destination, was contained in the two documents submitted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) at the committee’s sitting.

While responding to questions from members of the committee, Mr Rabiu Bello, NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), admitted that there were discrepancies in the documents.

In his presentation earlier, Mr Jack Ukitetu, a Director in Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who represented the bank’s Governor, explained that the Accountant-General of the Federation approved and determined the money accrued to the Excess Crude Account.

Ukitetu said that before 2006, the CBN collected the money on behalf of government’s agencies and remitted into the Federal Reserve Account in New York and charged 0.25 per cent.

He, however, added that after 2006, the oil companies paid directly what was due to the government.

On commissions being collected by the apex bank, the director told the lawmakers that the CBN collected 0.25 per cent via foreign exchange allocation and did not charge the Federal Government as deduction were made from central sales.

Meanwhile, Mr Waziri Adio, Executive Secretary of Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), who had accused NNPC and CBN of misleading the ad hoc committee, pleaded to withdraw the earlier documents submitted.

He, however, pledged to submit “more damaging documents” on the alleged crude oil theft to the committee on Wednesday “ which will help in unearthing the unremitted revenue accrued from oil and gas but not remitted”.

Speaking earlier, Chairman of the committee, Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas, said that the committee would not hesitate to submit its report to the House without the inputs of major Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) which failed to honour the committee’s invitation.

Toward this, the committee mandated the CBN and NNPC to submit the audited report of the oil and gas account showing the remitted funds into the Federation Account between 2011 and 2014.

The NNPC was also directed to submit the Bill of Laden relating to the 974,721 barrels of crude oil lifted on Oct. 20, 2011 and 961,963 barrels lifted on Oct. 10, 2011.

It also included 974, 935 barrels lifted on July 9, 2011 and 974,953 barrels lifted on July 18, 2011 but were not declared.

The lawmakers also requested for report of the reconciliation conducted by NNPC and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as well as the list of oil off-takers for 2013 and 2014.

Similarly, NNPC is expected to provide details of the companies that paid oil tax between 2011 and 2014 as well as the Letter of Credits (LCs) of all the monies paid into the Federation Account within the period.

SOURCENAN
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