As a part of the war against corruption, the House of Repre­sentatives has com­menced extensive investiga­tions to unravel how $17 billion of undeclared crude oil pro­ceeds were allegedly stolen.
The House of Represent­atives’ Ad hoc Committee is handling the investigation. In­deed, the Committee has sum­moned the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, to appear before it on Tuesday.
The Committee has also summoned the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru; the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele; the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside and the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris.
The Chairman of the com­mittee, Hon. Abdulrazak Nam­das, summoned Magu on Mon­day in Abuja at the opening of the investigation where all the invited stakeholders sent their subordinates to represent them.
The Committee also sum­moned the Group Gener­al Manager, National Petrole­um Investment Management Services, Mr. Stephen Sejebor and the Director of the Depart­ment of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Modecai Ladan, in connec­tion with the stolen fund.
Namdas noted that reports have been published about il­legal oil bunkering in Nigeria, among other sharp practic­es in the oil and gas industry, but none of the reports have ac­curately established the figure of crude oil stolen and sold to buyers globally within the pe­riod.
“Report have it that over 57 million barrels of Nigeria crude oil were illegally exported and sold in the USA between Janu­ary 2011 and December 2014. The estimated loss by the gov­ernment of Nigeria is over N2 trillion.
“The corruption in the oil industry fundamentally distorts public policy, creates misappro­priation and misapplication of resources”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dog­ara, had said that the incidence of stolen and missing money at the NNPC and the entire oil in­dustry was now an albatross to the development of the nation.
Dogara, who declared the public hearing open, lamented that if not for the constant theft in the oil industry, the nation would not have been in eco­nomic recession at the moment.
“The incidence of mon­ey missing in the industry has become a recurrent decimal to the point that news items in the media are incomplete without a mention of the ills of the in­dustry.
“The reports of the media on the ills in the oil industry clearly attest to the concern of the gov­ernment to tackle corruption in the industry head on”.
The speaker, who was rep­resented by the Minority Whip, Hon. Yakubu Barde, said that the country had received dis­turbing audit reports about the oil industry.
He said that the report about the oil industry involv­ing International Oil Compa­nies (IOCs) was that $4.4bn was trapped somewhere instead of remitting it to the federation ac­count.
He cited a report from an anti-corruption organisa­tion, the Action Network for Economic Justice, in which it claimed that NNPC did not re­mit over 12 billion dollars to the federation account since 2009.
“The same organisation al­leged that the sum of $5.9bn of the federation accounts were lost to offshore processing agreements and through crude theft in the country”.
According to the speaker, “If loss of revenue to the nation through the oil industry was to be avoided, I can beat my chest that under no circumstances should Nigeria be talking about recession.
“Therefore, no amount of investigation in the oil indus­try can be said to be an overkill as the oil industry has become endemic.
“The investigation of the $17 billion dollars, therefore, remains part of the ongoing process in confronting the hy­dra-headed monster”.
He, therefore, urged the committee to complement gov­ernment’s efforts in the fight against corruption. - The Authority