How NNPC Connived With Swiss Firm To Defraud Nigeria – NEITI

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BY LAWRENCE ETIM.
It must have been less than twenty four hours since the House of Representatives ad hoc committee began investigating the allegation brought forth by a Swiss-based NGO, Berne Declaration, involving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and Swiss-based companies, another weightier revelation by the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, has further revealed that the sum of $22.8 billion was not disclosed by the NNPC in NEITI’s audited financial statement on the corporation through alternative funding arrangement with its joint venture partners.

NEITI, executive secretary, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, disclosed this to the committee yesterday, explaining that the amount not captured in the report was, according to NEITI audit report of 2009 to 2011, supposed to be part of the corporation’s financial statements through alternative funding arrangement with its joint venture partners.

She debunked NNPC’s denial that it did not connive with some Swiss oil dealers to deprive the federal government of oil revenue of $6.8 billion that should have accrued to it as a result of the crude oil lifting contract the corporation granted the companies.

How NNPC Connived With Swiss Firm To Defraud Nigeria - NIETIAhmed further revealed that from 2009 to 2011, the country lost N98.3 billion to NNPC in exchange rates compared to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) official exchange rate in the year under review.

She corroborated the subsisting allegation by the Bernes declaration report, which was the precursor of the ongoing investigation, saying: “There is similarity in NEITI audit report and the Bernes Declaration report.The report (Bernes Declaration report) has a lot of substance in it.”If it is taken for what it is, then what we need to do is bring greater transparency and better disclosures. “Non-cash call items totalling $1.73 billion were financed from the CBN/NNPC/JP Morgan Chase Cash Call Dollar Account. This reduced the amount available for funding JV operations with the attendant implications of NNPC seeking alternative funding arrangements to fund cash call shortfalls.”

Also NEITI audit report of 2009-2011, picked holes in NNPC’s allocation of 445, 000 barrels per day to local refineries. Ahmed, who also alleged that $1.73 meant for Joint Venture cash calls have been diverted by NNPC, urged the federal government to consider the privatisation of refineries and ensure that pipeline security is enhanced.

The Managing Director of the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), Mr. Haruna Momoh, debunked the claim that the nation  is losing $8 billion annually through swap arrangement, saying the deal was in the best interest of the country. And insisted that the deal was transparent and temporary. “It will soon be phased out once the refineries are operating in full capacity and when new refineries come on board,” he noted.

Hon. Muraina Ajibola, announced the adjournment, and also ruled that the Minister of Petroleum Resources; Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), acting Governor of CBN,  Executive Secretary of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) among others, should appear before the panel on the adjourned date.

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