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DPR, CBN diverted $950m oil royalty – Reps’ panel

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An ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives on Sunday accused the Department of Petroleum Resources and the Central Bank of Nigeria of keeping  $950m in a secret domiciliary account from 2011 and 2014 as against remitting the money into the Federation Account.

The committee, which is chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Adamawa State, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, is investigating the alleged $17bn crude and gas resources stolen from Nigeria between 2011 and 2014 .

The DPR was also accused of failing to declare a separate $70.648m .

The committee threatened to issue an arrest warrant against the management of the agency for ignoring its invitations.

The panel said while the DPR’s official account for the remittance of royalties was with JP Morgan, a second account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was uncovered.

Namdas stated that when the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was queried over the account, it confirmed its existence.

For instance, the committee said $10.2m was received in April 2011 by the DPR and CBN as royalties from Moni Pulo.

Namdas, however, said only $3.425m was paid into the Federation Account, while $6.853m was reportedly diverted.

“In June 2011, rentals were received from Compile, but the DPR and the CBN credited the Federation Account with only $121.263m, thereby diverting $10.157m.

“In April 2012, the sum of $44.770m received by the DPR and the CBN was not credited to the Federation Account; while in September 2012, the sum of $38.842m paid by Chevron as royalty was not credited to the Federation Account as same was deducted under the cover of refund to Philip’s Oil.

“In October 2012, all payments received through the Federal Reserve Bank, estimated at over $200m, were not credited to the Federation Account.”

Speaking further, Namdas recounted how in April 2013, the DPR and CBN paid $117.583m out of $281.750m into the the Federation Account, implying that another $164,167m was diverted.

He added, “In August 2013, the DPR allegedly diverted the sum of $242.715m from revenue accruable to the Federation Account and in March 2014, the DPR and the CBN concealed over $300m.”

According to the committee, the money kept in secret by the agencies between May and July 2014 was $450m.

However, an Assistant Director, DPR, Mr. Adewole Johnson-Makanju; and the Manager, Planning, Mrs. Comfort Ajayi, who made a submission to the committee, claimed that the problem started when some oil companies continued to remit money into the Federal Reserve Bank account after February 2011 even though they were duly notified that JP Morgan Chase was now officially holding the domiciliary account.

They also claimed that there was no fraud intended or committed as the CBN regularly mopped up the money and reconciled the figures.

But, not satisfied with the explanation, the panel gave the DPR director the next sitting date to appear before the committee, else a warrant for his arrest would be issued.

Namdas warned, “I am still insisting that the DPR director must appear in our next meeting. I am also expressing disappointment that the director has never appeared before us.”

The House had by its resolution in December 2016, ordered the probe after a motion by a member, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, established evidence of “fraudulent transactions and irregularities” in crude and gas exports within the period under review.

Part of the information at the disposal of the committee put the figure of undeclared crude shortfalls between 2011 and 2014 at 57,830,000 barrels.

“This translates to well over $12bn worth of crude shipped to the United States.

“Also, over $3bn worth was shipped to China and $839,522,600 worth of crude was taken to Norway.

“These figures were conclusively ascertained by buyers, bill of lading, arrival dates, destination ports, quantity of crude oil and other documented information,” the document stated.

The US was listed as the leading destination for the crude out of the 51 countries that received crude exports from Nigeria within the period.

“The report was made available to the former President (Goodluck Jonathan); Office of the Attorney General of the Federation; Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency; and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and that as of today (2016), the country has to its credit, over $17bn of recoverable shortfalls from undeclared crude oil exports to global destinations,” it added.

In the case of liquefied natural gas shortfalls, the document noted a loss of 727,460 metric tonnes, estimated at about $461,044m, firmly established shortfall from shipment to seven countries.

“These have been established as undeclared cargoes,” the document added.

 

Punch 

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