Senate Committee on Public Accounts, on Tuesday, 9th of March, gave the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC one week come up with detailed explanations on how it spent the alleged unremitted N4.06trillion into the Federation Account.
The directive followed a heated argument between the Auditor General for the Federation, AuGF, Aghughu Adolphus through the Director of Public Accounts, Olutoye Agesin and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari who was represented by the Chief Finance Officer, CFO of the corporation, Umar Ajiya at the committee’s probe panel over the unremitted funds.
The Office of AuGF had in its 2016 Audit Report alleged that the NNPC failed to remit N4.076trillion into the Federation Account from operational proceeds made between 2010 and 2016.
In his submissions to the findings by the Senate panel, Ajiya explained that the alleged unremitted money was spent on other critical areas of operations which were not taken cognizance of by the Office of AuGF in the 2016 Audit report, but Agesin countered him by saying required explanations were not given for such spendings.
Specifically, the CFO said the alleged unremitted money was expended on oil pipelines repairs, domestic fuel supplies which were heavily subsidized, security and management matters.
“In fact, Mr Chairman, distinguished members of this committee, from such expenses made within the stated period, it is even the federal government owing us N239billion,” he said.
Ajiya added that “the response to the query had been sufficiently made in the forensic audit conducted later, reports of which were forwarded to the Office of the Auditor-General and this August committee.
“The forensic audit has been done, the Auditor General has a copy of the forensic audit. At the end of the day, that forensic audit established that NNPC was owing about N797billion, but also, on the other hand, the federation was also owing NNPC, the net effect was that the NNPC was being owed N239billion. So, there is nothing like N4trillion withheld by the NNPC.
“The books are with the CBN, you can’t hide N4trilliion anywhere. It has gone through the consumption of PMS (premium motor spirit) and that is why everybody has to be involved with respect to deregulation,” he explained.
Responding, Agesin countered the submission but admitted that though a copy of the forensic report was received by the Office of Auditor General, explanations given by NNPC on alleged spendings made with the N4.076trillion were not factual with required evidence of spendings.
“N4trillion is not a small amount of money that can just be said to be spent on pipeline repairs and oil subsidy within five years.
“Line by line details of such spendings ought to have been made in the NNPC’s response to the query,” he said.
Most members of the committee like Senators Ayo Akinyelure (PDP Ondo Central), Ibrahim Abdullahi (PDP Sokoto South), Suleiman Kwari (APC Kaduna North) and some others supported the representative of the Auditor General by telling the NNPC to give detailed accounts of how the money was spent.
Consequently, the vice-chairman of the committee, Senator Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia (APC Jigawa North East), directed the Chief Finance Officer of NNPC to furnish the committee with the required details within a week upon which the query will be vacated or sustained
He, therefore, ruled that the query is stood down for a period of one week.
Source: Nigerian Pilot