Reps question ministers, banks, firms over illicit sale of $2.4bn oil
The House of Representatives will on April 11, 2023, question federal ministers, heads of ministries, agency heads, banks as well as oil companies, over the alleged illicit sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil worth $2.4bn.
The House’ Ad Hoc Committee has been set up to investigate alleged loss of over $2.4bn in revenue from illegal sales of 48 million barrels of crude oil export in 2015 including all crude oil exports and sales by Nigeria from 2014 till date.
In a notice to the invitees on Monday, the committee also wanted memoranda from whistle-blowers whose alarm had resulted in the recovery of public funds from corrupt people and organisations.
The committee invited 100 individuals, organisations and groups, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited; Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPCL; Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Attorney General of the Federation; Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation; Central Bank of Nigeria; Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission; Chief Executive, NUPRC; former Chairman, Presidential Committee on Recovery of Missing Crude Oil; former Director-General, DSS, Lawal Musa Daura; Department of State Services; Nigeria Police Force; INTERPOL National Central Bureau, Nigeria, among others.
The oil and telecommunication firms as well as banks for appearance include Dangote Industries Limited/Dangote Refinery; MTN Nigeria Limited; 9Mobile Nigeria Limited; Airtel Nigeria Limited; United Bank for Africa; Guaranty Trust Bank; Access Bank; Ecobank; Fidelity Bank; and Zenith Bank; Famfa Oil Limited; Seplat Petroleum; Addax Petroleum; Total Energies; Chevron; Shell (SNEPCO & SPDC); Sahara Energy Resources; Conoil; AITEO; Agip/NAOC; Heirs Petroleum; ExxonMobil/ESSO Petroleum; Oando; Oriental; SAPETRO and all other JV, PSC and marginal field operators.
Other top government officials have also been invited.
The notice partly read, “In the unlikely event that formal correspondence from the committee does not reach any of those listed above, please consider this publication as a formal invitation to the public hearing.
“Individuals, agencies, civil society and non-governmental organisations, companies and all other entities who are privy to or have provided whistle-blower information to the Nigerian Government about corruption and proceeds of corruption (whether or not such information has led to recovery by the government) are also, hereby, requested to submit memoranda with the following information to the committee’s secretariat:
The committee had held an investigative hearing at least twice during which invitees, including the Nigeria Police Force and INTERPOL we’re grilled.
The Chairman of the committee, Mark Gbillah, said the panel had not been officially inaugurated as Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, was not available to declare the hearing open.
Gbillah said the Speaker would now inaugurate the committee on April 11.
When asked of the possibility of the committee concluding the investigation before the 9th National Assembly winds down in June, the chairman disclosed that the probe might be continued in the 10th Assembly.
He said, “Yes, we believe we have enough time to look at the critical issues. But anything outstanding – that is why government) is a continuum – we can always make a recommendation in the report that the next House should take over from here and there. But it is too-important an issue for us to not try to conclude on.”
The House had on December 20, 2022, resolved to constitute an ad hoc committee to investigate a whistle-blower’s allegation of illegal sale of 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude in China in 2015 and the insurance status of the cargo.
The committee was also to investigate all crude oil exports and sales by Nigeria from 2014 to date, with regards to quantity, insurance, revenue generated, remittances into the Federation Account or other accounts as well as utilisation of the revenue for the period under review.
In addition, the panel would investigate all proceeds recovered through the Whistle-Blowers Policy of the regime led by President Muhammadu Buhari and the level of compliance with the policy.
The committee was to report back within four weeks for further legislative action.