In a letter to the President of Nigeria, the Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi alleged that the NNPC failed to remit a total of 49.8 billion dollars into the Federation Account between January 2012 and July 2013.
The news of such an enormous sum missing from the State’s coffers is coming on the heels of accussations against the Federal Government and its purported calm disposition towards corruption in government agencies.
In a swift response to CBN’s claims, NNPC has denied owing the government and accused the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, of having no knowledge of the structure of remittances of crude oil proceeds.
The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Andrew Yakubu said that the NNPC was by statutory requirement responsible for direct remittances of only one stream of crude oil lifting – the equity crude, which represents about 27.5 per cent of the entire lifting.
The four other streams including the royalty oil, tax oil, volume for third party financing and NPDC equity volume are paid to other agencies which in turn remit to the government,” Mr Yakubu explained.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise, retired banker, Edwin Ikhinmwin argued that the said amount of money is “somewhere in the name of the Federal Government of Nigeria, maybe it has not reached the CBN yet.”
“It cannot be missing,” he said, adding that such an amount is too huge to be in any account without red flags being raised and so the letter by the CBN governor is only a precautionary measure to ensure that the funds are tracked and remitted to the FAAC.
According to Ikhinmwin, the letter written by the CBN governor hints at politics being played in the latest scandal involving the petroleum agency.
He however said that if the allegations of the CBN turn out true, the governor must be commended for being courageous especially in the face of claims that the Presidency’s body language towards corruption is mild.
However, Lawyer and Petroleum expert, Engineer Yomi Orenuga, raised questions as to the silence of the CBN concerning the unremitted funds within the period which it said the NNPC failed to fulfill its obligations, despite the monthly meetings they hold to balance their accounts.
“Reconciliation is done almost on a monthly basis with all the agencies of government, even from the IOC’s that lift crude oil. You reconcile and give reports of your liftings and productions,” he said.
In a telephone interview, the Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production, NNPC, Abiye Membere, disclosed that the agency had remitted about 18 billion in 2013 but the CBN acknowledged 15.52 billion.
Mr Membere also claimed that the NNPC paid more than 10.3 billion into the FAAC in 2012 and that the CBN did not have the accurate figure.
In his reaction, energy expert, Engineer Bala Zaka said that the whole situation attests to “a lack of congruency and inter-agency data and information sharing” between the two agencies.