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Reps to investigate NNPC over $1b illegal withdrawal from NLNG account

THE House of Representatives is set to begin an inquiry into the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) over “illegal withdrawals” from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) account.

During plenary on Tuesday, lawmakers accused management of the NNPC of illegally withdrawing up to $1 billion from NLNG funds without due process.

Speaking during the plenary, Ndudi Elumelu, the House Minority Leader,  said the NNPC management used the funds without approval from states and the National Assembly as prescribed by law.

According to Elumelu, the law provides that the NLNG dividends be paid into the consolidated revenue funds account and shared among the three tiers of government.

The NLNG is a limited liability company established in 1989 with the aim of producing Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG and natural gas liquids for export purposes and it’s production kick-started in 1999.

It is jointly owned by the Federal Government represented by the NNPC with a shareholding stake of 49 per cent, Shell gas B.V with 25.6 per cent, Total LNG Nigeria Ltd at 15 per cent and ENI with 10.4 per cent.

But the lawmaker said the NNPC had “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 $1.05billion, 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 $1.05 billion was spent,” he said.

“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.”

Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House, adopted his motion, directing the House Committee on Public Accounts, to invite the management of the NNPC, as well as that of the NLNG in order to conduct a thorough investigation on activities that have taken place on the dividends account and report back to the house in four weeks.

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