By Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of Representatives Ad- hoc Committee on Non-remittance of $17 billion into the Federation Account, has accused the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of diverting the sum of $950 million between 2011 and 2014, into illegal domiciliary accounts.
The committee chaired by Rep Abdulrazak Namdas also alleged that the DPR and CBN also shortchanged the Federation Account by under-declaring what it received to the tune of $70.648 million.
Disturbed by the non appearance of the DPR before the committee, Namdad threatened to invoke necessary constitutional provisions to compel the DPR director should he fail to appear before it in their next meeting.
Namdas disclosed that while the DPR had an official domiciliary account with JP Morgan Chase for collection of royalties, it was “still running another secret account with Federal Reserve Bank, New York as confirmed by NNPC”.
He said in April 2011, the DPR and CBN received. Royalty payment of $10.279m from Moni Pulo by remitted only $3.425m to federation account and diverted $6.853m.
“In may 2011, DPR and CBN confirmed receiving $10.279m for royalty from platform petroleum but remitted only $13.387m and diverted $10.265m.
“In June 2011, rentals was received from Compile, but DPR and CBN credited Federation account with only $121.263m thereby diverting $10.157m.
“In April 2012, the sum of $44.770m received by DPR and CBN was not credited to the federation account; while in September 2012, the sum of $38.842m paid by Cheron as royalty was not credited to the federation account as same was deducted under the cover of refund to Philip’s Oil”
Giving further details, Namdas said “in October 2012, all payments received through Federal Reserve Bank, estimated at over $200m, were not credited to Federation account”.
According to him, in April 2013, DPR and CBN credited the federation account with only N117.583m out if N281.750m, which accrued as miscellaneous revenue thereby allegedly diverting N164,167m.
“In August 2013, DPR allegedly diverted the sum of N242.715m from revenue accruable to the federation account and in March 2014, DPR and CBN concealed over $300m”
The Committee chairman also alleged that between May and July 2014, CBN and DPR concealed revenues estimated at $450m.
Namdas, who is also the House spokesman alleged that between 2011 and 2014, “DPR and CBN perpetually shortchanged the federation account by under declaring what it received and diverted the balance amounting to $70.647m and N298.483m respectively.
The DPR director who was represented at the investigative hearing by the assistant director, planning, Mr. Adewole Johnson Makanju and manager, planning, Mrs Comfort Ajayi, however explained that prior to February 2011, the domiciliary account with Federal Reserve Bank was being operated by the DPR but a new account was opened with JP Morgan Chase in February.
According to them, after the JP Morgan Chase account was opened, some of the international oil companies (OICs) were mistakenly still paying royalties into the Federal Reserve Bank account.
They told the committee that there was no fraud as the CBN always mops up the monies paid into the old account and credit the new one. The duo informed that though they had written to all companies concerned, they still pay into the Federal Reserve Bank account.
Dissatisfied with their explanations, the committee insisted that the DPR director for must appear before it, failure to do so, he will be subpoenaed.
“I’m still insisting that the DPR director must appear in our next meeting. I’m also expressing disappointment that the director has never appeared before us
“In the next meeting, we will invoke the necessary constitutional provisions to compel him to appear, we will not hesitate to arrest him,” Namdas threatened