Missing $49.8bn: Sanusi lied — Senate

By Ezrel Tabiowo

The much-awaited report of the Senate Committee on Finance has dismissed the allegations by the suspended Governor of Central Bank (CBN), Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as utterly unfounded and untrue, following the outcome of investigations, and whose report was submitted to the Senate during plenary yesterday.
The report indicated that the panel, during the course of investigations, could not see how Sanusi arrived at the alleged figure of $49.8 billion.

The committee also observed that the unfounded nature of Sanusi’s allegations was evident in his submissions which reflected gross inconsistencies that it described as “misleading and incorrect.”
The report said: “That the CBN governor at the first hearing had put forward the figure of US$12 billion as monies to be reconciled and changed his position to US$20 billion at subsequent hearing. At the conclusion of his written submission, he posited that it could be US$20 billion, US$12 billion, $10.8 billion or anything in between.”

The committee noted that the suspended CBN governor never submitted, either orally or in writing, that monies were missing, but that monies were not remitted to the federation account.

The panel further noted: “The CBN governor only posited that part of US$.6 billion, representing value of lifting by NNPC on behalf of NPDC, should belong to the federation account and that he was not in a position to say how much as the amount. Therefore, the assumption that the entire sum of $6 billion was to be accounted for is incorrect and misleading.
The panel stated for the record that all the agencies, which included the CBN, the NNPC, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Petroleum Resources, had agreed after a reconciliation meeting that $47 billion out of the $67 billion had been credited to the federation account, and the amount to be accounted for, therefore, was $20 billion.

The committee said, “The sum of $5.254 billion PMS subsidy certified by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), part of the $20 billion to be accounted for was adequately covered by the Appropriation Acts 2012 and 2013.”
Consequently, the committee recommended that inter-agencies reconciliation meetings amongst sensitive economic institutions such as Ministry of Finance, NNPC, CBN and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) should be done on a regular basis in order o avoid similar episode.

The panel also requested President Goodluck Jonathan to prepare and present to the National Assembly a supplementary budget to cover the over-expenditure in the sum of N90.693 billion ($585 million) for PMS subsidy 2012 and the sum of N685.910 billion ($4.430 billion) for kerosene subsidy expended without appropriation by the National Assembly in 2012 and 2013.
On remittances expected to be made to the federation account, the committee asked the National Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) to remit to the federation account the sum of $447,817,884, being balance of Royalty and Petroleum Profit Tax.

It also recommended that the NNPC remit the balance of $218,069,354 to the federation account, an amount derived from gross lifting under the third party financing; as well as the sum of $262 million being expenses the corporation could not satisfactorily defend in respect of Holding Strategic Stock Reserve, Pipeline Maintenance and Management Cost, as well as Capital Expenditure.