Senate on Tuesday mandated its Joint Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream, Downstream) and Finance to investigate intentionally misappropriation of $3.487 billion by Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiary, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
The committee is expected to report its findings back to the parliament on January 9.
The decision of the Senate was sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye who said it was worrisome that the two agencies had been lifting crude oil without any recourse to transparency,
He added that NPDC had since 2013, been lifting crude from divested oil wells OML 61,62 and 63 worth over $3.487 billion without remitting it to the federation account.
He also accused the agency of failing to pay royalties and other taxes.
In his words, “It is curious that despite the much trumpeted anti-corruption stance of the current administration that this level of corruption could still be nestled and tucked in by highly placed individuals is derisive of the entire anti-corruption fight.
“The Senate observes that the said amount so far withheld illegally can build about 11 world-class teaching hospitals fully equipped to cutting edge machinery of about 200 beds in Nigeria, 6 health care centres in each of the 774 local government areas of the country and added on the national power grid 4,000 megawatts of electricity.
“The Senate further observes that this amount if remitted into the federation account would have had an immediate and significant impact on the economy by bringing down the cost of the naira instantly and boosting the federation reserves appreciably.”
Speaking in Support of the motion, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, who described the acts of the two agencies as nothing but an infringement on the 1999 Constitution (as amended) said keeping such huge amount in private pocket is against the provision of the constitution.
According to him, keeping such a huge amount of money in private pockets at such a time when Nigeria goes through economic recession and prevalent poverty is unacceptable.
He appealed to his colleagues to ensure that the matter was taken very seriously.
The Senate therefore mandated the NNPC and the NPDC to immediately remit monies obtained on behalf of the federal government to the Federation Account.
It also tasked the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Baru Maikanti, to ensure compliance with this directive with immediate effect.
It also tasked the NNPC “to as a matter of urgency forward to National Assembly its yearly estimate for repairs and pipeline operations and maintenance for appropriation.”
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