Senate raises alarm over NNPC’s alleged N42b illegal account
• Seeks forensic audit of $16.3 billion Egina oil project
• Corporation fine-tuning agreement to overhaul refineries
The Senate has indicted the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of allegedly operating a N42. 005 billion illegal account. The account, according to Senator Dino Melaye, (APC Kogi West), who raised the alarm through a point of order is being operated by NNPC and some expatriates in the oil industry under the name of a registered company called Brass NLG Limited with the Federal Government controlling the account.
According to him, the account which by extant laws is supposed to be domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is domiciled in a Keystone Bank and without Bank Verification Number (BVN).He alleged that periodic withdrawals are being made from the account, the latest of which was $4 million (N220 million), which he said made the account to now have a balance of $137 million (N41.785billion).
Senate President, Bukola Saraki ruled that the substantive motion on the alleged fraud would be deliberated upon today.Also yesterday, the Senate asked the NNPC to carry out immediate forensic audit of the controversial $16.3 billion Egina oil project.
The Senate ad-hoc committee on local content noted that the project being undertaken by Total Upstream Nigeria Limited, which started in 2013 and is almost 90 per cent completed has not been audited in any form since the commencement of the project estimated to produce 200, 000 barrels of oil per day
Chairman of the committee, Senator Solomon Adeola, in his opening remarks, said that the cost of the project was said to have been raised from $6 billion to $16.3 billion.NNPC Chief Operating Officer (Upstream) Bello Rabiu, in his testimony, told the committee that the contract sum for the Egina oil project remained $16.3 billion and not $6 billion.Out of the $16.3 billion, Rabiu said that they have already approved $10 billion for the project.
Meanwhile, state-owned Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited (PHRC), Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (WRPC) and the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited will soon be funded by private financiers to perform at 90 per cent capacity, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Maikanti Baru, said yesterday in Abuja.At a meeting with the staff, Baru said the corporation was inching closer to arriving at the choice of financiers for the refineries.
Currently performing far below capacity, the feasibility of private funding of the refineries is expected to improve output and reduce importation of refined crude into the country and boost petroleum products supply as well as distribution in the nation.
There are also possibility of new refining capacities to come on board as two consortia have already indicated interest to co-locate refineries in Warri and Port Harcourt, while two Greenfields are expected later this year in Kano and Kaduna, Baru said.
According to him, agreements on the potential financiers for the refineries are being fine-tuned, following which the endorsement of the NNPC Board would be done this month.He described the procedure for electing the financiers as painstaking, noting, however, that it was necessary to enable a desired closure on the subject.
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