In a desperate attempt to clear the air on the controversial account with N53.4 billion, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Monday it owes the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) N217 billion ($600 million) as outstanding payment for operations in the upstream sector of the nation’s oil and gas industry.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, disclosed this while receiving the Chairman and members of the Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) at the NNPC Tower in Abuja.
The SIPP visited the NNPC Tower to investigate reports that Corporation operates an account with the sum of N53.4 billion without the consent of the Federal Government.
Reports had said the SPIP, which acted on behalf of the federal government, stumbled on the account while investigating a petition against a “slush” funds held in a fictitious account named NNPC/NOAC IPP Security Account, suspected to be proceeds of corrupt practices.
- The petition, which was filed by the human rights activist, Femi Falana concerns NNPC’s partial remittance to the federal government on the Joint Venture with International Oil Companies (IOCs).
- It was further disclosed that the account holders are unidentifiable persons and/or public officers, who used NNPC/NOAC IPP Security Account.
- This act, according to the reports, is fictitious and did not follow any known due process in account opening.
- Following this, government initiated a legal process for a permanent takeover and final forfeiture of the account domiciled in First Bank of Nigeria.
However, the Corporation has moved to clear the air on the alleged financial breaches in its operations.
According to the GMD, NNPC had nothing to hide as it stood to gain a lot by being transparent in all areas of operation.
He said: “Every member of our Management shares the vision of Mr. President that Government institutions must be accountable to all Nigerians. We know that we will gain more by being more transparent. We have nothing to hide.”
- Kyari disclosed that the NNPC would have paid the balance of 60% to the Federal Government, but felt it is unnecessary because it represents the government.
- On the alleged breach of government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy, the GMD said the NNPC had no secret account.
- Kyari insisted that all funds owned by the NNPC were domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding that the Corporation’s account managers remain the CBN and the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF).
Outstanding payment: Reacting to the alleged non-remittances of taxes and royalties by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), NNPC’s upstream arm, the GMD said there were outstanding payments which arose as a result of the pillage that occurred before 2015.
He said NNPC currently owes DPR an outstanding payment of N217 billion or $600 million, with a re-payment plan expected to clear all outstanding payments by mid-2020.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Presidential Panel, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla said the panel’s visit was to seek synergy with the NNPC towards reforming the country and more importantly to clear the air on issues relating to the agency’s operations.