*Navy says seized product handed over to anti-graft agency
Sunday Aborisade, Abuja
The Senate Committee on Finance yesterday commenced an investigative hearing into an alleged sale of 1.7 million barrel of crude oil seized by the Nigerian Navy between 2021 and the first quarter of 2022.
The product was allegedly sold by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at an undisclosed amount.
The transaction was however, said to be without the awareness of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ahmed Zainab.
The Senate Committee on Finance chaired by Senator Solomon Adeola is probing the loses of revenue in maritime sector
The Nigerian Navy represented by Real Admiral Sola Oluwagbire, who is the Director of Operations appeared before the panel yesterday to clear the air on the development.
He told the Senate Committee that 44 vessels loaded with crude oil were arrested in 2021, with 1.6 million crude and 4.6 million petrol.
According to him, 13 vessels were arrested within first quarter of 2022 with 154,000 of crude oil.
He put the total crude oil seized by the Nigerian Navy between 2021 and first quarter of 2022 at 1.754 million crude oil.
He told the Committee that the seized vessels were handed over to the EFCC, because the Nigerian Navy was not the prosecuting agency.
He, however, said there was an allegation that the anti-graft agency had disposed the seized crude oil.
However, when the Chairman of the Committee asked the Finance Minister if she was aware of the disposed crude oil handed over to EFCC by the Nigeria Navy, Zainab said she was not aware of how the seized products were handled.
She said, ” I am not aware how the seized products were handled.”
The Chairman of the Committee, while speaking on the development after the session said his panel had asked the Navy to supply more information.
He also said the Committee would want to know the current situation of the seized products.
Adeola said: “We have asked the Navy to supply us with information, we want to know the current state of the seized products.
“The Nigerian National Petroleum Company is going to appear before us on Monday and we will also invite EFCC.”