NNPC ‘banked over N50 billion in TSA breach’
• Reps summon GMD, CEOs, seek evidence ‘Buhari approved non-compliance’
The House of Representatives yesterday uncovered how the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) flouted the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy by depositing over N50 billion in various commercial banks.
Consequently, it summoned the NNPC Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr. Maikanti Baru, to appear before its ad hoc committee probing implementation of the policy next week Wednesday.
The committee, led by Mr. Abubakar Nuhu Danburam, also directed the NNPC to produce proof the breach was carried out with the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources. The directive came after a member of the committee, Mr. Simon Arabo (Kaduna, PDP), questioned the genuineness of a letter purportedly signed by Mr. Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the President, conveying Buhari’s consent to lodge the amount in commercial banks.
Another member of the committee, Mr. Edward Pwajok, maintained it was mandatory Kyari appeared before the committee, given the seriousness of the issue.“We need to see the evidence of the directive. As an investigative committee, we need to get to the bottom of the issue, as to whether it was in line with the provisions of the constitution or extant regulations,” said Pwajok.
Though Danburam failed to rule on Kyari’s appearance, he directed the chief executive officers (CEOs) of all the country’s commercial banks to appear before the committee next week Wednesday to explain their roles in warehousing the money.
The directive followed revelation by an official of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Dipo Fatokun, who testified before the lawmakers that implementation of the TSA policy was yet to score 100 per cent compliance.
Fatokun who promised to present a reconciliation report after engaging commercial banks, in conjunction with the office of the Accountant General of the Federation by the end of this month, specifically cited the amount under the NNPC Joint Venture accounts yet to be captured under the TSA policy.
He claimed that part of the N50 billion might have been withheld by some of the commercial banks due to litigation involving the NNPC. He also hinted that money belonging to the judiciary and the National Assembly was lodged in commercial banks in defiance of the policy.
Danburam applauded the performance of SystemSpecs, the firm that developed the Remita software used in collecting TSA funds and read the riot act to the CEOs over their refusal to avail the committee with relevant information on the accounts of ministries, departments and agencies of government at their disposal.