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Published On: Fri, May 30th, 2014

Missing $20bn: We didn’t clear NNPC – Panel member

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Dr Bukola SarakiBy Ikechukwu Okaforadi & Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin

Vice-chairman of the Senate panel which probed the alleged unremitted $20 billion oil revenue, Bukola Saraki, yesterday disagreed with the position of the committee, saying that contrary to media reports, the panel actually indicted the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of unremitted funds.

In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Bamikole Omishore, Saraki regretted that the media did not read the details of the report before reporting the outcome of the investigation and the document.

He said the committee is still committed to unravelling the whereabouts of part of the missing funds, even as he pointed out that forensic audit is still going on to certify the veracity of some of the claims of expenditure by the NNPC, which the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Petroleum Product Price and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) had owned up for the corporation.

Saraki, who pointed out that, as at the last meeting he attended, nothing had changed to confirm that the allegation of the former CBN governor was baseless, even as he emphasised that the committee’s report actually indicted the NNPC of illegal spending of billions of naira.

Saraki said, “Though I could not attend the last meeting of the committee, I have been very active in the investigation; nothing significant has changed to suggest clearing anybody.

“I can say, on behalf of the Committee, that these media reports bear no correlation to the content of the Senate Committee report and I would urge the public to disregard it in its entirety.

“The Committee is yet to receive the report on the forensic audit and independent analysis on the subject clearly indicate we have a lot of grounds to cover in order to determine the level of culpability or otherwise of agency on the alleged non-committal.

“Therefore, to suggest any clearance for anybody at this stage is out of the question. I will further advise that the media should wait for the senate to release the details of the Committee report to the public before they jump into spurious conclusions.”

The committee, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, a former Governor of Kaduna state, had in the report submitted on Wednesday, indicted NNPC over unremitted $480 billion, including $262 million and $218, 069,354.32, being the money it spent on expenses it could not account for and the outstanding amount from gross lifting under the third party financing respectively.

It, therefore, directed the NNPC to refund the above money to the Federation Account, since it is the federal government’s share of the third party financing of crude lifting within the period under review.

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