The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, yesterday, denied any wrongdoing over its failure to remit about $13.294 billion to the Federation account over a nine-year period, stating that the funds were utilised legally in running its operations, while the balance of the funds had been transferred to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The NNPC was reacting to the latest report released by the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, which indicted it for the non-remittance of $3.8 billion and N358 billion in 2013; and $12.9 billion, being dividends received from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, from 2005 and 2013. Speaking at the NEITI Stakeholders’ Dialogue on the 2013 NEITI Oil, Gas and Solid Minerals Reports in Abuja, Mr. Godwin Okonkwo, Group General Manager, Debt Management/Federal Allocation of the NNPC, maintained that the NLNG dividends were never misappropriated or withheld by the NNPC, but that every amount spent from the funds was with the approval of the Federal Government.
He explained that a large chunk of the funds, with the approval of the Federal Government, were used to fund various gas projects in the country, while with the advent of the current administration, the balance of the funds had been moved from the Treasury Single Account, TSA, to the federation account in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
He said, “Before now, the position is that the NLNG belongs to the Federal Government and the NNPC is an arm of the Federal Government. The NLNG dividends were there and if there was any kobo that goes out of it, it was done with the approval of the Federal Government. No kobo leaves the NLNG dividend without appropriate approval. “Part of the spending for NLNG dividends was the development of NLNG trains, Brass LNG and Olokola LNG and is not right for anybody to say the money is now missing.”