…Blasts fuel marketers over subsidy payment
By Christiana Ekpa and Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Senate has mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to investigate the rationale behind a security account allegedly operated by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Nigerian Agip Oil Company.
This followed the adoption of a motion moved by Sent. Dino Melaye (Kogi-APC).
Moving the motion, Melaye said there was need for the Senate to unravel the objective of the account and source of its funding.
According to him, the account opened with the name NNPC/AGIP Oil Company IPP Security Account with address NNPC Garki, Harbert Macauley way is domiciled in First Bank Nigeria Plc with account number 2006367288.
Melaye said that the account had an opening balance of N31.7 billion and a closing balance of N34. 5 billion as at April 25, 2017, adding that there were lodgments and withdrawals since January 2017.
“Aware that there has been lodgment and withdrawals since January, 2017;
“ Observes that a lot of questions are begging for answers as regards this account, the objectives of the account? , the signatories to the account?, Is the account known to the Federal Government?
What are the sources of the account’s fund?
“Convinced that there is an urgent need to investigate the rationale behind the operation of this account,
“While we need to know the objectives of this account, we also need to know the signatories to the account ; is the account known to the Federal Government and what are the sources of the account’s funding.
“About N2 trillion is kept in various accounts of government, we are operating a Treasury Single Account yet money is kept in various personal accounts.
‘If these monies are properly remitted to government purse, we will have no business borrowing.
“This Senate will continue to expose any corrupt practice in the country because it is time to protect the future of Nigerians unborn,” Melaye said.
Contributing, Senator Sam Anyanwu (PDP Imo East) Who seconded the motion, said it has become imperative for the senate to carry out thorough investigation on the operation of an account by the NNPC/Agip Oil Company
In his remark the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the plenary, directed the committee on public Account to investigate the matter and report back to the senate within four weeks of the assignment.
Also yesterday, the Senate Committee on Public Account investigating fuel crisis, led by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, (PDP Edo South) rday blasted Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria for asking Federal Government to pay more subsidy to interest banks for the purpose of subsiding importation of petrol into the country.
This was even as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said that oil marketers abandoned the importation of petrol in the country because of the losses they incurred.
However, the lawmakers were peeved as the Executive Secretary, of MOMAN, Mr Obafemi Olawoke asked the Federal Government to pay the areas of subsidy claims owed its members between 2013 and 2015 and even more to interest banks to enable them resume importation fuel into the country
Though he did not mention the figure, he told the lawmakers that members of MOMAN were still owed subsidy claims which accrued from 2013 to 2015.
According to him, due to this, our members are incapacitated and cannot import fuel.
“The banks are always adding their interest at the end of every month.
We had a promise from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that the aspect of interest will be stopped at a certain period of 2017 but that did not come to pass, so the banks at the end of every month are charging us interest,’’ Olawoke said.
But his presentation did not go down well with members of the committee as Senator Dino Melaye, a member of the committee angrily accused the marketers of conniving with NNPC to defraud Federal Government and Nigerians.
Also Senator Bassey Akpan (Akwa Ibom North East) blasted the MOMAN boss trying to misleading the committee into asking Federal Government to pay more subsidy to banks.
In his presentation, the Chief Financial Officer, NNPC, Mr Isiaka Razak who disclosed before the committee that the oil marketers abandoned the importation of petrol due to lack of losses, expressed worry that the task of importing fuel into the country was left in the hands of the NNPC alone.