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$1.05bn: Reps Tackle NNPC, NLNG Over Illegal Withdrawals

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An alleged illegal withdrawal of funds from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited amounting to $1.05bn by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is currently being investigated by the House of Representatives.

A joint venture comprising the state-owned corporation and three oil supermajors, NLNG is majority-owned by NNPC with a 49% stake while Shell Gas B.V., Total LNG Nigeria Limited and Eni International own 25.6%, 15% and 10.4% interests in that order.

The resolution came on the heels of a motion named ‘Need to Investigate the Illegal Withdrawals from the NLNG Dividends Account by the Management of NNPC.’ Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu moved the motion for its adoption at Tuesday’s plenary.

Thereafter, the lower chamber of the parliament requested the Committee on Public Accounts to “invite the management of the NNPC as well as that of the NLNG to conduct a thorough investigation on activities that have taken place on the dividends account and report back to the House in four weeks.”

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion moved by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, at the plenary on Tuesday, entitled ‘Need to Investigate the Illegal Withdrawals from the NLNG Dividends Account by the Management of NNPC.’

Consequently, the House mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to “invite the management of the NNPC as well as that of the NLNG, to conduct a thorough investigation on activities that have taken place on the dividends account and report back to the House in four weeks.”

Moving the motion, Elumelu recalled that the NLNG was incorporated as a limited liability company in 1989, with the aim of producing liquefied natural gas and natural gas liquids for export purposes, while it’s production began in 1999.

He noted that the NLNG is jointly owned by the Government of Nigeria, represented by the NNPC, with a shareholding of 49 per cent, while Shell Gas B.V has 25.6 per cent; Total LNG Nigeria Ltd, 15 per cent; and ENI International, 10.4 per cent.

Elumelu said, “The House is aware that the dividends from the NLNG are supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Funds account of the Federal Government and to be shared amongst the three tiers of government.

“The House is worried that the NNPC, which represents the government of Nigeria on the board of the NLNG, had unilaterally, without the required consultations with states and the mandatory appropriation from the National Assembly, illegally tampered with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of $1.05bn, thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.

“The House is disturbed that there was no transparency in this extra-budgetary spending, as only the Group Managing Director and the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer had the knowledge of how the $1.05bn was spent.

“The House is concerned that there are no records showing the audit and recovery of accrued funds from the NLNG by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, hence the need for a thorough investigation of the activities on the NLNG dividends account.”

The legislator noted the lower parliament’s discomfort with the absence of any records the audit and recovery of accumulated funds from the NLNG by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation, thereby necessitating the need for a scrupulous inquiry into the activities on the said account.

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