— He’s ignorant, says NNPC
For the umpteenth time, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has insisted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation should be held responsible for the missing $20 billion yielded from the sale of crude oil but yet to be remitted into the federation account.
He stated this yesterday while appearing before the Senate Committee on Finance.
Sanusi had last year accused the NNPC of diverting $48.9 billion from crude sales, an amount which he later agreed before a Senate hearing was not missing.
The CBN boss, at the hearing which had in attendance the Finance Minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the missing amount yet to be accounted for was $12 billion, while the minister gave the figure of $10 billion.
But in a swift reaction, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, accused Sanusi of being ignorant of the procedures of transaction employed by the corporation.
Sanusi said: “We have all agreed earlier that 14 billion dollars out of the 67 billion dollars they shipped came into the dollar account of the federation. That is agreed. We have looked at FIRS numbers and we have confirmed that 16 billion dollars paid by international oil companies to the FIRS account was not paid by the NNPC but paid by IOCs. It was the proceeds of crude lifted in the name of NNPC but sold on behalf of FIRS.
“That 16 billion dollars had been confirmed by FIRS and had accepted. There is 1.6 billion dollars that DPR also received from IOCs which was part of that crude and which CBN had accepted. We have provided evidence in the naira crude account out of the 28 billion dollars domestic crude shipped by the NNPC, it had repatriated 16 billion dollars.
“Out of the 67 billion dollars that has accrued to the NNPC account we have accounted for 47 billion dollars. Out of the 67 billion dollars that the NNPC shipped, 47 billion dollars had been repatriated to the CBN.
“What we are talking about is the balance of the 20 billion dollars and what explanations had been given. NNPC had said some of it does not belong to the federation account so, six billion dollars NPDC we have held the position that some of the crude shipped by the NPDC is shipped from oil wells that belong to the federation.
“Secondly, NNPC had explained that 80 percent of that money yet to be repatriated, on kerosene and fuel subsidy. I have submitted to this committee written evidence of a presidential directive eliminating subsidy since 2009, and NNPC needs to provide its authority for buying kerosene at N150 and from the federation account and selling at N40 and inflicting that loss on the federation.”
He added: “The other part of third-party financing, which were not appropriated, had no documentation or proofs. All we have said as CBN to which there is no disagreement is that NNPC shipped 67 billion dollars worth of crude, they have repatriated or we have established that 47 billion dollars has come back to the federation. There is a 20 billion dollars that has not come back to us. The burden of proof is on NNPC
“We have made suggestions that can help to answer some of the explanation and we believe that even some of that which they claimed were shipped by NPDC does not belong to the NPDC but to the federation.”
Countering the CBN’s claim, the NNPC boss told the Senate: “The issues that were raised are no news at all. You see, we came out in details because we don’t have anything to hide and we gave a detailed breakdown of the so-called $49 billion and we came out clearly to state the various streams that are associated with what he was talking about.
“Now, we also made it clear that NPDC, if we had anything to hide we would not have made it clear that NPDC was part of the stream, because NPDC, which is NNPC’s upstream operation, is a limited liability company registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) to do upstream business just like any other independent company.
“Now, if you are in your business, will you take your gross revenue and pass it on? What we simply said was to account for the streams that the CBN governor erroneously captured. Now, let me make this point very clearly: CBN is a banking outfit, so I really, really understand why they will not understand some petroleum engineering issues and they are not also an auditing outfit.
“Now what they try to do is to audit and I heard some statements made here that they do not have this document, they don’t have that document. They are not the auditors. We have certified bodies and arms of agencies that are charged with the responsibility of auditing. They are in banking, right? So what he said was not really new.
“We said clearly that we stated an amount that went to NPDC and that amount was the gross lifting. But there are other streams that go back to government in terms of taxes just like any other business player.
“So we have royalties, we have Petroleum Profit Tax, and so on and so forth. Now these are subject of other detailed discussions and investigations and they are open. We give access to the Auditor General of the Federation, we give access to Accountant-General, we give access to agencies that have business to do with auditing our own business.
“And at the Federation Account too we render this report as you are told on monthly basis and these are issues that are subject of reconciliation on monthly basis. So, really, for issues like this to come to the public glare again becomes worrisome that we throw away numbers, we throw away allegations that at the end of the day we clarify but then the damage would have been done.”