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Nigerian lawmakers want NNPCL audit over unaccounted N2tn assets

Nigerian lawmakers want NNPCL audit over unaccounted N2tn assets

The House of Representatives has called for a forensic audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to determine its assets and liabilities as well as its current market value.

According to the House, the audit has become necessary due to the metamorphosis of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation into a limited liability company.

The House’s Ad Hoc committee on NNPCL’s assets and liabilities in its report which was presented to the legislature on Tuesday, claimed that its findings showed that asset worth $64bn (about N28tn) was unveiled by former President Muhammadu Buhari but during the transfer, only $58.8bn (N26tn at the official rate of N450 to $1) was transferred, leaving a balance of N2tn unaccounted for.

It recommended that NNPCL should re-assess its accounting system.

The committee presented  its report a week after the Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari,  said the Federal Government still owed the company N2.8tn that it had spent on petrol subsidy.

The House on December 1, 2021, resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to determine the assets and liabilities of the NNPC before it was fully privatised as prescribed by the Petroleum Industry Act, which was to carry out the exercise within eight weeks.

The probe was based on a motion moved by a member, Ibrahim Isiaka, titled ‘Need to ascertain the total consolidated inventory, assets, interests and liabilities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiaries before transfer to the NNPC Limited to ensure a glossary accounting system.

Following the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act, the NNPC and its subsidiaries had been unbundled with the creation of an NNPC Limited, the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, and the Nigerian Midstream and the Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

The Corporate Affairs Commission also in September 2021 incorporated the NNPCL in line with the provisions of the PIA.

The House, at the plenary on Tuesday, considered and adopted the report of its ad hoc committee to ascertain the total inventory, assets, interest, and liabilities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiaries.

When contacted, the spokesperson for the NNPCL, Garba-Deen Muhammad, told our correspondent that the firm had nothing to hide and would answer any question from the Reps members.

“They have been asking us questions and we’ve been answering them. So if they have any more questions for us, we will oblige and attend to them.

“We respect them and recognise their rights to perform their functions. NNPCL doesn’t have anything to hide.”

On refineries, he explained that the company would ensure that the facilities deliver up to expectation and was working hard to get the plants running.

In its report, the committee stated, “From findings, asset worth $64bn (about N28tn) was unveiled by Mr President (Buhari) but during transfer, only $58.8bn (N26tn at the official rate of N450 to $1) was transferred, leaving a balance of N2tn unaccounted. NNPCL should be meant to re-assess her accounting system.”

The committee recommended that the NNPCL and Federal Government “should work modalities that will ensure removal of subsidy in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act that stipulates that subsidy be removed within six months of operation of the PIA.”

The committee also recommended that the investments and operations of international oil companies should “be further investigated and scrutinised” before implementation and Fund for Innovation Development.”

The committee further recommended that “External auditors should audit the liabilities of over N2tn being inherited by NNPC Limited on behalf of the federation. There is a need to further establish the current market values of NNPC, especially under a devalued naira regime.

“The Federal Government should investigate foreign desk offices of NNPC subsidiaries with locations abroad, and make IOCs establish offices in Nigeria and develop a framework that will make the companies answerable to the laws of Nigeria.

“Forensic auditors to first audit all NNPC accounts with all the banks to verify the following: the true amount owed any bank as per loan(s) granted, the exact movements of funds from NNPC accounts as well as overcharges by banks which is a huge amount of money and will be a source of additional revenues to the Federal Government, and the defaulting banks should be made to refund the sum discovered back to NNPC/Federal Government with interest.”

PUNCH

 

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