SAHaEXCLUSIVE: Ministry Of Finance, Accountant-General pass bucks over whereabouts of billion taken by Nigerian Petroleum Corporation

SAHARA REPORTERS EXCLUSIVE: Ministry Of Finance, Accountant-General pass bucks over whereabouts of $21billion taken by Nigerian Petroleum Corporation

The Nigerian government has failed to give details and breakdown of the disbursement of over $21billion withdrawn from the dividends’ account of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

SaharaReporters learnt that the Federal Ministry of Finance sent a request to the Accountant-General of the Federation’s office to supply details on the money, but the OAGF noted that only the NNPC could supply the information.

A lawyer, Tosin Ojaomo had in a Freedom of Information request demanded comprehensive detail of how the fund was disbursed to the NNPC.

In response to his letter, the lawyer was directed by the agency (NNPC) to channel his request to the Ministry of Finance.

However, the Finance ministry in a letter dated July 28, 2021 to Ojomo asked him to write the NNPC for details on how the fund was disbursed.

“The NNPC said it is only the Ministry of Finance that can tell us the whereabouts of the funds, now the same Ministry of Finance sent the request to the Accountant General of the Federation to treat; the Accountant General of the Federation is saying we should channel our request to the NNPC which earlier said they don’t know the whereabouts of the fund.

“It is obvious that this money has disappeared like others in the past. How can the Accountant General of the Federation who is statutorily empowered to keep records of all finances in the federation accounts be saying we should ask NNPC how funds belonging to the people of Nigeria were disbursed?

“Something is fundamentally wrong with this country; we must get to the root of this fund. 21 billion USD is what we are talking about here again.”

It will be recalled that the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Chief Elias Mbam had in 2020 frowned at the unilateral deduction of the $20.3 billion from the NLNG Dividends Account by the NNPC.

“That the NNPC or any other agency does not have the powers under the law to withdraw money from the NLNG Dividend Account for any other purpose outside remitting it into the Federation Account”, he had said.

According to Mbam, his Commission “does not support any diversion of revenue that should accrue to the Federation Account for whatever reason, as the practice is illegal and conflict with section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”

This story first appeared in Sahara Reporters


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