From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
Report has it that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were into vocal attacks yesterday over the status of the outstanding $20 billion crude oil sales.
At the re-opened hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance on the alleged unremitted funds by the NNPC to the federal treasury, CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, told lawmakers that the corporation was yet to account for $20 billion out of total sales of $67 billion worth of crude oil.
But the NNPC Group Managing Director, Andrew Yakubu, dismissed Sanusi’s claims. He accused Sanusi of ignorance of “petroleum engineering issues,” insisting that the corporation was still reconciling sales figures.
Besides, Yakubu said Sanusi is not an auditor as he is only a banker to the government, adding that the NNPC is already co-operating with the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation on the matter.
Sanusi fired back, saying: “May I say Mr. Chairman, that some of those issues raised are subject to investigations. They have to do with whether the NNPC is repatriating money due to the Federation Account or not and because NNPC had given a number of explanations for why money has not come.
“Out of the $67 billion that has acrued to the NNPC account, we have accounted for 47 billion dollars. Out of the 67 billion dollars that the NNPC shipped, 47 billion dollars had been repatriated to the CBN.
“What we are talking about is the balance of the $20 billion and what explanations had been given. NNPC had said some of it does not belong to the Federation Account so, 6 billion dollars NPDC we have held the position that some of the crude shipped by the NPDC is shipped from oil wells that belonged to the federation. GVs that Shell went out of, which NNPC took over and handed over to NPDC, which then handed over to two Nigerian companies and transferred revenues that should come to the Federation Account for remittance.
Yakubu’s reply: “We have made submissions but this meeting was not of detailed discussion of the submission. We came here for the Chairman to brief us on the programme and agenda on the detailed reconciliation that we are doing. As you were told in the meeting, we are reconciling at the point of conclusion on the reconciliation process with the various agencies. It is at the end of this that we will submit our detailed reconciled position which the committee will study and then commence detailed review session. That is where and what was reported is exactly the true position of things.
“As you are aware, the major chunk of the amount in question, over 80 per cent of it is in the subsidy for both PMS and kerosene.”
On not submitting documents before the committee, Yakubu replied: “We said we are at the point of concluding the reconciliation. We have been reconciling with PPPRA, on the subsidy documentation on PMS and kerosene. You were told the PPPRA testified to that. We are at the point of rounding up and that is the major chunk of the entire amount in question. As soon as that is done, we will reconcile, sign-off and then make formal presentation to the committee.”
On the allegation of the outstanding $20 billion outstanding, the NNPC GMD dismissed them as old allegations from the CBN.
“Now what they try to do is to audit and I heard some statements made here that they do not have this document, they don’t have that document. They are not the auditors. We have certified bodies and arms of agencies that are charged with the responsibility of auditing. They are banking right? So, what he said was not really new.
Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, urged Sanusi not to make “allegations in gross term,” noting that he should isolate the issues and address them. The meeting was adjourned till next Thursday for further hearing and to also enable the committee study the documents before it.