The Lower chamber of the National Assembly has invited the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; and the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over the alleged illegal withdrawal of $21bn from the Nigeria Liquefied and Natural Gas Limited’s Dividends Account between 1999 and 2020.
The decision stemmed from a presentation by the Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, who claimed that the deductions from the disputed account followed due process, receiving clearance from Federal Ministry of Finance, CBN and NNPC.
The NNPC boss was represented at the hearing by Umar Ajiyag the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer, stated that the proceeds from the Dividends Account were the Federal Government’s share of revenues from oil shared among the federal and state tiers of the Federation.
He stated: “Though the NNPC sits on the board (of NLNG) on behalf of the federal government, proceeds from the investment, are managed and disbursed or dispensed or utilized, based on the instruction of the federal government. When I say the federal government, I do not mean, NNPC; ordinarily, it’s the Federal Ministry of Finance that directs the utilization. We (NNPC) are merely the agents of the federal government.
“All withdrawals (from NLNG dividends fund) were based on approved mandates of the relevant authorities. As far as NNPC is concerned, investments in NLNG, were done on behalf of the federal government. I was the treasurer of NLNG, so I was aware of the federal government’s investment in the project.
“The same matter came at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and was referred to a committee, headed by the Governor of Kaduna State, but the fact is that the federal government, through the NNPC, is the true owner of the investment (the sum withdrawn). It is accrued to the federal government, not the Federation Account.
“There is no question of illegal withdrawal. Nobody can withdraw from the account, illegally; the CBN Governor can be invited to attest to that.” Kyari added.“
He stated that the NNPC is the federal government’s representative on the NLNG board, he added that proceeds from the investment were managed and disbursed or dispensed or utilized, based on the instruction of the Federal Government.