Lawmakers Summon Malami, Nami, Oil Firms CEOs over NNPCL JV, PSCs Contracts

•Demand details of accounts from CBN

Udora Orizu in Abuja

The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mohammed Nami and CEOs of oil companies to appear before it on Friday.

They are to come with necessary documents as well offer explanations on the structure and accountability of Joint Venture (JV) businesses and Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) from 1990 to date.

The Chairman of the ad-hoc committee investigating the issue, Hon. Hassan Fulata issued the summon at the inauguration of the hearing following the absence of the Heads of MDAs.

The lawmakers had on July 21, while adopting a motion sponsored by Hon. Sada Soli, Hon. Mark Gbillah and four others inaugurated the Committee and had tasked them to ascertain whether or not the capital expenditure, operations, financials and related frameworks were within the ambit of law and report back to the House within eight weeks for further legislative action.

At the hearing, Heads of MDAs of the federal government and oil companies, namely, ministry of industry, Justice, Account General of the Federation office, Total, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, Aiteo, NNPCL, were expected to appear, all sent representatives.

While some brought the needed documents, others were incomplete and sought for extension of time to compile the necessary documents.

Frowning at the development, the Committee Chairman, Fulata said ordinarily the parliament doesn’t deal with anybody other than the CEO, hence they must appear unfailingly on September 23.

Fulata however said, the NNPCL GMD, Mele Kyari wrote to the House to inform them that he’s in New York with Buhari.

The lawmaker said they would give the GMD time to allow for his arrival back to Nigeria.

Addressing the lawmakers, the representative of the Account General of the Federation, Onochie Peter said all items on the JVC proceeds are not yet available because they are still waiting for response from CBN and NNPCL.

Peter, who’s the Director Audit Monitoring, also said the office is not involved in the payments of JVCs transactions, but only receive proceeds.

Surprised at his statement, the Committee Chairman, Fulata said, “The documents we are asking must pass through you. The account general even for record keeping doesn’t have something like this?

“No wonder we are experiencing these leakages in our revenues, our investment is not tracked. We are looking for money left right and center. You should able to get these documents. You should have these kind of records in your system.”

A member of the Committee, Hon. Mark Gbillah asked if the accountant general office have anything to do cash calls disbursement, or if they are handled by NNPCL?

Responding, the representative of the Accountant General said, “these accounts are operated by NNPCL. Yes, it’s not run by accountant general office. The accounts are domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria; we are not the owners. The proceeds of agreements come to the federation accounts. But we will endeavor to get the necessary documents.”

Reacting to his disclosure, Gbillah accused the NNPCL of operating as a quasi-government on its own.

He said, “So you’re saying that there’s a separate cash call account that even the accountant general has no access. This is a serious issue; this committee needs to look into it. NNPCL seems to be operating as a quasi-government on its own.”

In his ruling, Committee Chairman Fulata said while they wait for NNPCL GMD to appear before it, the Central Bank of Nigeria should submit details of the JV cash calls accounts domiciled in the apex bank.

Earlier, while declaring the hearing open, The Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila lamented that JV agreements and PSCs which were supposed to protect the interest of all parties, are being observed in branch and that Nigeria is being short-changed.

He said the investigation became necessary as there are serious allegations that operations for which NNPCL is a party and representing Nigerian interest have over the years been conducted with highest degree of opaqueness to the extent that Nigeria government and her citizens have been deprived of the value of their investment in the oil and gas sector.

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