Abuja – Senate on Thursday ordered Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to furnish it with documents authorising 22 withdrawals of $3.12 billion from the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) within the last three years.
The Senate gave this directive through its committee on Gas, headed by Senator Bassey Akpan (PDP Akwa Ibom North East).
Directing the NNPC to furnish the Committee all dividends accruing from the NLNG and all withdrawals from the account since 2015 totalling 22 and amounting to $3.12 billion, Akpan further directed that the corporation has up till November 30 to supply the committee secretariat with comprehensive list of the 22 withdrawals totalling $3.2 billion made from the NLNG Dividend Account with the CBN since 2015.
He also told the Acting Director of Banking Services of CBN, Mr. Christopher Olumukore, who stood in for CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele to also submit within one week “all the withdrawal authorisation you had including all the originating mandates and all the approvals.”
Akpan added that the CBN should also submit to the Committee by November 30 statement of account of the NLNG dividend account domiciled with the apex bank and that the committee will reconvene on December 1 “to look at all the submissions by both NNPC and CBN.”
Reacting to the directive, the management of the NNPC represented by Isiaka Abdulrasak, the Chief Financial Officer, called for widening of scope of the investigation to cover the entire 45 withdrawals made from the account from 1999 till date.
Following this reaction, one of the committee members, Senator Osinachukwu Ideozu (APC Rivers West) expressed concern about the competence of Abdulrasaq to occupy the CFO position in NNPC going by the way he had been confrontational with the committee in his answer to the questions posed to him.
Akpan also told Abdulrasaq that he cannot dictate to the committee on how to go about its findings, saying “so you must abide by our rules of engagement and not teach us our work.”
Olumukore had earlier told the committee that the dividend account domiciled with the apex bank was being operated by both NNPC and Ministry of Finance.
He disclosed that mandates for withdrawal from the account were usually from the NNPC and on occasions from the Finance Minister.
Recall that the Senate had last month mandated its Committee on Gas to investigate the alleged withdrawal of $1.05 billion by NNPC from the NLNG dividend account with CBN without due diligence.