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For their alleged failure to remit $5.6billion oil revenue into the Federation Account, the Senate yesterday mandated its Committees on Petroleum Upstream and Finance to investigate the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiary, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
The lawmakers ordered the committees to recover the amount from the two government agencies.
The Upper Chamber said since 2013 to date, the NPDC, has continued to lift crude from divested oil wells OML 61, 62 and 63 worth over $3.487billion and pocketed it.
It has also mandated the agencies to immediately remit monies obtained on behalf of the Federal Government to the Federation Account and urged the Group Managing Director to ensure compliance to the directive with immediate effect.
The Senate directed the NNPC to urgently, forward to the National Assembly its yearly estimates for repairs and pipeline operations and maintenance for appropriation.
Sponsor of the motion, Senator Dino Melaye, while making the revelations, described non-remittance of revenue as unlawful, willful misappropriation and criminal withholding of public funds by the NNPC and NPDC.

He said the two agencies were lifting crude oil under questionable circumstances, adding that the NPDC has been lifting from divested oil wells OML 65, 111 and 119 to the tune of $1.847 billion and allegedly paid a mere $100 million. 

Lamenting the attitude of the anti-graft agencies in failing to check the excesses of the two agencies, Melaye said: “While this practice may have started before the present administration, it has continued under the watch of the new administration unabated. So much so that in this year alone, between January and August, a total of $344.442 million worth of oil had been lifted by NPDC without remittance to the Federation Account and also not paying royalties and other taxes on these liftings.
“The continuing practice of withholding part of domestic crude oil sales proceeds by NNPC for use in pipeline repairs and product losses, despite the much trumpeted anti-corruption stance of the administration that this level of graft could still be nestled and tucked in by highly-placed individuals is derisive of the entire anti-corruption fight.”
He said the amount so far withheld illegally can build about 11 world class teaching hospitals fully equipped to cutting edge machinery of about 200 beds in Nigeria, as well as six health centres in each of the 774 Local Government Areas of the country and add on to the national power grid 4,000 megawatts of electricity.
Melaye said if the amount had been remitted into the Federation Account, it would have had immediate and significant impact on the economy by stopping the naira slide and boost the federal reserves appreciably.


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