By Adedayo Akinwale
The House of Representatives will today commence investigative hearing on 24 commercial and non-commercial banks as well as 14 international oil companies (IOCs) over an alleged loss of over $30 billion revenue annually due to leakages.
The investigative hearing which would be conducted in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols would be in phases.
The House joint Committees on Finance and Banking and Currency, which is chaired by Hon. James Faleke and Hon. Victor Nwokolo, will grill officials of the banks and the IOCs during the investigative hearing, with the first phase of the hearing spanning three weeks.
The mandate of the joint committee is to determine in a statutory and professional manner the revenue amount involved in the malpractices by each organisation based on every revenue line item collectible by the government agencies for the purpose of timely recovery into the government accounts.
The oil companies include Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE); Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC); PAN Ocean Oil Nigeria Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Producing Company Limited; Esso Exploration and Producing Nigeria Limited, and Mobile Producing Nigeria Limited.
Others are Statoil Company Limited; Shell Petroleum Development Company; Star Deep Water Petroleum Nigeria Limited and Total E and P Nigeria Limited; Total Upstream Nigeria Limited; Sterling Oil Exploration Energy Limited; Addax Petroleum Development Company Limited and Addax Exploration Limited.
The House had on March 5, 2020, passed a resolution mandating the two committees to carry out the investigation following the adoption of a motion by Faleke.
The lawmakers had expressed concern that the billions of dollars revenue leakages may have been due to tax evasion, malpractices, misuse and diversion of foreign exchange allocations by companies and other entities.
In adopting the motion, the House said it would also investigate the disbursement of foreign exchange by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other agencies to determine the exact amount that the government may have lost in the process.
It said: “The banks and the oil companies are to explain their roles in the alleged over $30billion revenue leakages arising from oil revenue interest payment on account of foreign currency dominated contracts by companies in engineering, procurement, construction, installation and marine transportations.”