The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Tuesday denied claims that it failed to remit $12.9bn dividend from the Nigeria LNG Limited for a period of eight years; instead, it said that part of the funds was reinvested in the gas-producing firm.
According to the NNPC, the funds were reinvested in the development of the Brass LNG and Olokola LNG projects, adding that it was not right for anybody to say the money was missing.
Reacting to the latest report released by the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which indicted the corporation for the non-remittance of $3.8bn and N358bn in 2013 as well as $12.9bn, being dividends received from the NLNG from 2005 to 2013, the NNPC argued that the funds were utilised legally in running its operations, while the balance had been transferred to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Speaking on the sidelines of a stakeholders’ dialogue organised by NEITI in Abuja, the Group General Manager, Debt Management/Federal Allocation, NNPC, Mr. Godwin Okonkwo, maintained that the NLNG dividends were never misappropriated nor withheld by the corporation, but that every amount spent was with the approval of the Federal Government.
According to him, a large portion of the funds, with the approval of the Federal Government, was used to fund various gas projects in the country, while the balance has been moved from the Treasury Single Account to the Federation Account in the CBN.
Okonkwo said, “Before now, the position is that the NLNG belongs to the Federal Government and the NNPC is an arm of the Federal Government. The NLNG dividends were there and if there was any kobo that went out of it, it was done with the approval of the Federal Government. No kobo leaves the NLNG dividends without appropriate approval.
“Part of the spending for the NLNG dividends was the development of NLNG trains — Brass LNG and Olokola LNG — and it is not right for anybody to say the money is now missing. And with the current regime that says the NLNG belongs to the federation, the balance of the money has been transferred through the TSA to the CBN. Nothing leaves there without appropriate approval. The NNPC is not an unorganised place where people do things anyhow.”
The NNPC manager stated further that the $393m joint venture cash call refunded by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company to the National Petroleum Investment Services was not remitted to the Federation Account because the amount was used to finance its operations as stipulated in its budget for the period.
On claims that the NNPC and NPDC had yet to pay about $1.7bn from the transfer of some oil assets to the NPDC, Okonkwo stated that the actual amount would be determined by the Department of Petroleum Resources, which was currently at the last lap of evaluating the amount to be paid.
He, however, admitted that the NNPC and its subsidiaries made some mistakes in the past, but stressed that these errors were being corrected now to prevent a reoccurrence.