Nigerian lawmakers on Wednesday disclosed that they are now trying to establish whether or not the management of state-owned oil company — the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) — improperly withdrew the total sum of $2.2 billion from NLNG.
Based on this latest disclosure, it is apparent that the Senate Committee in charge of the probe has considerably expanded the scope of the investigation from the initial sum of $1.05 billion to now $2.2 billion.
It was just last week when senators in Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber decided to investigate NNPC’s alleged improper withdrawals from the coffers of NLNG.
Note that the NLNG is NNPC’s joint venture with a number of foreign oil companies including ENI, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA. The company produces liquified natural gas for exportation purposes.
Withdrawals were made without approval
At the heart of this controversy is the allegation that the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission withdrew billions of dollars from NLNG without following due process. In other words, they acted solely without obtaining the necessary approvals from the appropriate quarters.
The man in charge of the probe, Senator Bassey Akpan, had asked officials from both the NNPC and the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide documents detailing the various withdrawals which were supposedly made between 2016 and 2018.
Although Akpan’s Committee had initially surmised that the total amount withdrawn by the NNPC during that period stands at $1.05 billion, he said Wednesday that new findings indicate that it is actually more than that.
In the meantime, this information is coming out now ahead of a hearing into the matter which has been slated for November 22nd, 2018.
Why did the NNPC withdraw the money?
The Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) used parts of the NLNG funds for the purpose of fuel importation. This was done, even though the NNPC knew fully well that the NLNG fund was specially dedicated to be passed down to state and local authorities.
The upper chamber had last month commenced an inquiry into a $3.5 billion fund that was supposedly expended by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for the purpose of petrol importation. The corporati