Reps threatens heads of NNPC subsidiaries with arrest over non-appearance

Reps threatens heads of NNPC subsidiaries with arrest over non-appearance
NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari

• Accuses Kyari of shielding officials, GMD insists the company hiding nothing

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, yesterday, threatened to issue a warrant for the arrest of the heads of subsidiaries of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.

The threat followed the failure of the leadership of the 17 subsidiaries to honour its invitation for a public hearing on the alleged non-remittance of crude oil proceeds to the Federal Government coffers.

At the resumed hearing of the panel, the lawmakers directed NNPC Group Managing Director, (GMD), Mele Kyari, to produce heads of the 17 subsidiaries indicated by the report of the Auditor-General for the Federation for financial infractions between 2014 and 2019.

Chairman of the committee, Oluwole Oke, accused Kyari of shielding the officials.

BUT the GMD insisted that the company was not hiding anything from Nigerians, while also dismissing earlier media reports that about 107 million barrels of crude oil could not be accounted for in 2018.

Reacting to the statement credited to the NNPC boss that he would take responsibility for the actions of the subsidiaries, Oke stated: “With due respect, the parliament differs with you, because we are guided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Legislative Houses Privileges Act and our rules.

“Yes, you have submitted (a) consolidated account. But the Auditor General, who submitted his report to us conducted audit pursuant to Section 85 of the Constitution by auditing the accounts of these subsidiaries, publishing the report and submitting same to the parliament.”

He went on: “The report specifically mentioned these subsidiaries and having done so, the parliament is duty-bound to take the queries and observations as contained in the report. Aside this, parliament can also, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, invite anybody to give evidence before this parliament.

“If a particular agency under your leadership is mentioned, we cannot shave their head in their absence. They have to be here. Yes, you have rendered your account, which is before us. But these subsidiaries must appear before this parliament to answer the queries raised by the Auditor-General for the Federation. They have to answer their father’s name.”

Oke charged: “With due respect, the NNPC is not in a position to dictate to parliament how it conducts its business. We have to change the impression of Nigerians about NNPC. We have listened to the comments of some governors about NNPC, and we must change the narration by telling Nigerians that NNPC operates transparently.

“Except you have something to hide, then you can continue to shield these subsidiaries. But they must appear before Nigerians and tell them about the funds in their kitty. They have to come here and answer the queries about the abnormalities the Auditor General observed in their operations. This is our position.”

Kyari had told the lawmakers that NNPC had nothing to hide, adding: “We have nothing to hide, as the corporation has published the same audited account for Nigerians to see, read and comment on.”

“Those accounts are a complete reflection of all our transactions, including our subsidiary companies. So, we are hiding nothing from Nigerians,” he submitted.

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