House of Representatives, on Tuesday, resolved to investigate the alleged illegal withdrawal of a whopping $1.05billion from the purse of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The lawmakers’ resolution followed the adoption of a motion by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, at the plenary, entitled ‘Need to Investigate the Illegal Withdrawals from the NLNG Dividends Account by the Management of NNPC.’
The House, therefore, mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to “invite the management of the NNPC as well as that of the NLNG, to conduct a thorough investigation on activities that have taken place on the dividends account and report back to the House in four weeks.”
While moving the motion, Elumelu recalled that the NLNG was incorporated as a limited liability company in 1989, with the aim of producing liquefied natural gas and natural gas liquids for export purposes, adding it began production in 1999.
The lawmaker noted that the NLNG is jointly owned by the Government of Nigeria, represented by the NNPC, with a shareholding of 49 per cent, while Shell Gas B.V has 25.6 per cent; Total LNG Nigeria Ltd, 15 per cent; and ENI International, 10.4 per cent.
He said, “The House is aware that the dividends from the NLNG are supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Funds account of the Federal Government and to be shared amongst the three tiers of government.
“The House is worried that the NNPC, which represents the government of Nigeria on the board of the NLNG, had unilaterally, without the required consultations with states and the mandatory appropriation from the National Assembly, illegally tampered with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of $1.05bn, thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.
“The House is disturbed that there was no transparency in this extra-budgetary spending, as only the Group Managing Director and the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer had the knowledge of how the $1.05billion was spent.
“The House is concerned that there are no records showing the audit and recovery of accrued funds from the NLNG by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, hence the need for a thorough investigation of the activities on the NLNG dividends account.”