…As FEC approves appointment of 8 field experts for forensic audit of NDDC***
The Joint Senate Committee on Finance and National Planning has asked the Office of Account General of the Federation (OAGF) to investigate the payment of 18 billion dollars by Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Sen. Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos -West), conveyed the resolution of the joint committee to the AGF, Mr. Ahmed Idris at the on-going public hearing on Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), organised by the committee.
The AGF was mandated to investigate, among other things, if the amount was actually remitted to NNPC, how much was actually remitted to the Federation Account if there was any deduction by NNPC.
The AGF was also asked to investigate how much was deducted and who authorised the deductions and the exchange rates applied for the amount that was remitted over the years under consideration.
Mrs. Eyono Fatai –William, General Manager (External Relations and Sustainable Development) of NLNG had, during her presentation, disclosed that NLNG had paid a dividend of 18 billion dollars billion to NNPC on behalf of Federal Government.
She had said the payment covered the period of 2004-2020, stressing that NLNG was committed to a culture of transparency and integrity.
She also revealed that the NLNG had also remitted nine billion dollars as tax to the Federal Government from 2011 to date, while 15 billion dollars had also been remitted as payment of field gas to the NNPC since the inception of the company.
She said that NLNG had also provided detailed year by year breakdown of the 18 billion dollars paid to NNPC as Federal Government share of dividend in this manner; 2004; 278 milliion dollars, 2005; 57.4 million dollars, 2006; 332.9 million dollars, 2007; 842.9 million dollars, 2008; 2.6 billion dollars and in 2009; 848.6 billion dollars.
“For 2010, NLNG paid 1.4 billion dollars, 2011, 2.5 billion dollars, 2012, 2.76 billion dollars,2013, 1.26 billion dollars, 20 14, 1.38 billion dollars, while 2015 was 1.043 billion dollars.
“In 2016; 356 million dollars, 2017; 798 million dollars, 2018; 904 million dollars, 2019; 915 million dollars, while 279.5 million dollars was remitted for 2020”, she said.
When Adeola inquired from the AGF, Idris Ahmed, if he could confirm the payment of the humongous dividends to the Federation Account, he said it was difficult to determine with any certainty.
He said that the dividend was usually paid to NNPC that represents the Federal Government in NLNG.
Adeola,however, asked the AGF to confirm and cross check the details of the remmitance and report back to the committee.
Adeola said the confirmation of the remmitance would give the true situation of Federal Government’s investment in NLNG since inception and the performance situation of the company in general.
In another development, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the appointment of eight field experts to undertake the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswin Akpabio, made the disclosure to State House correspondents after the council’s meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
According to the minister, the field auditors will complement the work of the lead auditors, appointed in March.
He said over N300 million was approved for the initial lead auditors and over N700 million for the eight newly appointed auditors as payments for their services.
The minister explained that the auditors would evaluate all the 12,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta region in the last 19 years.
Akpabio said: “The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs today presented a memo to the Federal Executive Council and at the end of the deliberations, the memo was approved.
“The memo is basically the appointment of field forensic auditors to undertake the forensic auditing of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
“The field forensic auditors are going to be designated to go through the states of the Niger Delta region.
“Earlier we had the lead forensic auditor that was approved sometime in March; now we have about eight other forensic auditors who have been approved and they are going to be working in the field in the region.”
He said that one of them, Ernst and Young, was an international group that would be in charge of programmes and activities at the headquarters.
“This has really kick-started the commencement of evaluation of the abandoned projects of NDDC in the last 19 years estimated at almost 12,000 projects.
“At the end we will be in the position to know the ones that could be completed, the ones that will be useful and the low hanging fruits that could be plucked for the benefit of the people of the region,’’ he said.
Akpabio said the result of the evaluation would determine the next line of action on the projects.
The Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, also told the correspondents that his ministry obtained approval to revise the estimated total cost of consultancy services for the ongoing Ogbese Dam project in Ekiti.
Adamu described the dam project as one of those projects the current administration was eager to complete.
“I presented a memo requesting the council to approve the revised estimated total cost of consultancy services for the ongoing Ogbese Dam Project in Ekiti State.
“This project is one of the 116 projects that we inherited. It was started in 2009.
“It was one of the projects we prioritised for completion since we conducted an audit of all the ongoing projects in 2016. We have been working on it steadily.
“So, we got an augmentation of about N101 million and an extension of 24 months,’’ he said.