House committee summons Emefiele, Baru, others over missing $1.7bn oil blocs proceeds

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The House of Representatives has summoned the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, over the refusal of the corporation to disclose the proceeds from oil blocs signature bonuses worth about $1. 75 billion.

Also to appear on Monday before the House’s Adhoc committee on Oil Prospecting Licenses (OPLs) and Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) are Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele; Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; and heads of the Directorates of Petroleum Resources (DPR); Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation (NPDC).

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Gideon Gwani, who briefed reporters at the National Assembly complex yesterday, specifically accused the CBN, PTF and DPR of not doing enough to render an account of the monies.

“In these times, a revenue collection gap of $1.75 billion cannot be ignored. We need to get to the root of all collections of not only signature bonuses but also all other revenues involving acreages in Nigeria.

“The committee needs clear evidence that the signature bonuses of these blocs and many others have been paid in full, and they are OPL 214, 324, 320, 318, 256, 242, 223, 221, 245, 247, 322, 248, 249, totalling the sum of $271. 8 million, claimed to have been paid, with the balance of $648.2 million outstanding.

“The following are the signature bonuses from staggered payments. Most of the OPLs have been converted to OMLs, but we have chosen to list them in the state at which the debts and payments occurred.

There is also need for the evidence that the signature bonuses have been paid for the following OPLs: OPLs 250, 291, 332, 276, 321, 323, 283, 315, 257, 279, 285, 286, 298, 471, 289, 284 and 236.

“Again, we need the evidence that these payments were made into which account and the total amount is about $835 million.”

Gwani said in the course of an investigation, his panel, among others, uncovered how oil blocs were awarded by persons other than the President or Petroleum Minister, as prescribed by the Petroleum Act.

He further claimed that oil blocs were awarded to persons or companies other than those that participated at the bid rounds, as well as the award of marginal fields for life, adding that the shocking revelations are non-payments, partial or staggered payments of statutory fees, such as application fees, signature bonuses, royalties, rents, renewal and relinquishment fees, as well as such other fees.

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