If a motion by 11 senators sails through today on the floor of the Senate, the Upper House will launch a comprehensive probe into the revenue and expenditure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) since 2007.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Senator Lee Ledogo Maeba , and 10 others are sponsoring the motion aimed at compelling the corporation to open its account for legislative scrutiny.
The scrutiny by the Senate Committee on Petroleum will also cover the accounts and of the NNPC Joint Venture (JV) operations.
Indications that the motion may be deliberated upon today emerged last week when the motion was listed on the Senate notice paper for today’s plenary.
In the motion, Senator Maeba said the: “Senate committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream had on several different occasions including the 20th day of April, 2009, the 20th day of May, 2009, the 20th day of June, 2009, the 6th day of August 2009 and the 14th of October, 2009 sent correspondences and reminders to the office of the Group Managing Director of NNPC which were duly signed and received even in the office of the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources.
“In the correspondences and reminders aforesaid, the committee requested the Group Managing Director to submit to the committee revenue and expenditure profile of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on quarterly basis, with a window of 2 (two) weeks on each of the notices sent to him for the documents to reach the committee.
“In spite of the several requests and follow up reminders, the Group Managing Director has willfully and intentionally refused to either acknowledge any of the several requests of the committee or provide the documents as requested in spite of his awareness of their importance to the successful accomplishment of the committee’s lawful oversight responsibilities.”
The motion also said that Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, allegedly collaborated and encouraged the NNPC GMD in frustrating the Senate Committee’s oversight duties.
The motion is specifically seeking the leave of the Senate to mandate the Senate committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream to investigate the following: the profile of all revenues from all sources accruing to and paid to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation including all income statements from September 2007 to September, 2009; and, the total records of crude oil sales and remittances into the Federation Accounts, if any within the period.
The others are: “all monies paid by the Corporation within the period with receipts and payment invoices; the contracts and projects approved by the Board including Joint Venture contracts and payment for such projects; and, all internal approvals, intra-corporation expenditure and audited account of the corporation for the period.”
The Senate move is coming on the heel of a touchy relationship between the Senate Committee, Lukman and the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Mohammed Barkindo.
It would be recalled that Lukman had been fined N4,000 by the Senate committee February, this year, for failing to honour two summons issued on him by the Senate committee.
Lukman had paid the fine about two months later vide a cheque drawn on the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=160568