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Economy & Politics

Reps to investigate alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from NLNG account

Gbajabiamila mandated the House to conduct a thorough investigation on activities of the dividends account.

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Reps to investigate alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from NLNG account, NDDC Probe: Reps give Akpabio 48 hours to publish name of lawmakers who got contracts

The House of Representatives has concluded plans to investigate the alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) account by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) without its knowledge and appropriation.

The decision by the lower chamber is on the heels of a unanimous adoption of a motion by the Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, during plenary session on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

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Going down memory lane, Elumelu recalled that the NLNG was incorporated as a limited liability company in 1989 with the aim of producing liquefied natural gas and natural gas liquids for export purposes which began in 1999.

He pointed out that the NLNG is jointly owned by the Federal Government, represented by the NNPC with a shareholding of 49% and Shell Gas with 25.6%, Total LNG Nigeria Ltd with 15% and ENI International with 10.4%.

READ MORE: Nigeria’s debt rises to $79.5 billion, as debt to revenue ratio worsens

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The Minority leader said, “The dividends from the NLNG are supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Funds Account of the Federal Government and to be shared among the three tiers of government.’’

Going further in his motion, Elumelu said, “The NNPC who represents the government of Nigeria on the board of the NLNG had unilaterally without the required consultations with states and the mandatory appropriation from the National Assembly illegally tampered with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of 1.05 billion dollars thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.

“There was no transparency in this extra-budgetary spending as only the Group Managing Director and the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer had the knowledge of how the 1.05 billion dollars was spent.’’

‘’There are no records showing the audit and recovery of accrued funds from the NLNG by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. Hence the need for a thorough investigation of the activities on the NLNG dividends account.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the House Committee on Public Account to conduct a thorough investigation on activities that had taken place on the dividends account.

Gbajabiamila mandated the committee to invite the management of the NNPC as well as that of the NLNG in the process and report back to the house in four weeks.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Economy & Politics

INEC to introduce election results viewing portal

INEC says the policy would be tested at the Nasarawa State Constituency Bye-Election.

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INEC headquarters gutted by fire

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has announced the introduction of a dedicated public portal called the INEC Result Viewing (IreV), which would enable Nigerians to view real-time results in polling stations.

This was announced Thursday evening in a statement signed by Festus Okoye, INEC’s Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee.

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“ The Commission is aware that result management has remained a major source of mistrust in our electoral process. INEC is determined to address any source of this concern through enhancing the level of transparency in the conduct of elections,” INEC said.

INEC also said that it is an important principle for votes during elections to be correctly counted. This new initiative is a major step towards achieving that goal. However, INEC said this does not constitute electronic collation of votes just yet. Instead, “the collation of election results shall remain as provided for by law, a manual process of completion.”

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IreV would be tested during the Nasarawa State Constituency Bye-Election scheduled for August 8th, INEC said.

Concerned Nigerians are advised to visit inecresults.com, create an account, and fill in their details which will lead them to the portal to oversee the collation of votes.

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Economy & Politics

Chinese Loans: Clauses are international standard terms – Amaechi

The probes into Nigeria’s use of foreign loans could negatively affect how foreign lenders perceive the country.

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Nigeria Air, FG states why there is no hurry to resume train operation, Lagos blue rail line ready 2022 , Chinese Loans: Clauses are international standard terms - Amaechi

Nigeria’s Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, said the clauses contained in Nigeria’s Chinese loans for infrastructural development are standard international commitment clauses. In other words, such are regular, applicable clauses whenever a country goes into a trade agreement with another country.

The Minister revealed this while on Channels Television’s evening political talk show, Politics Today.

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Back story: The Nigerian Senate called a hearing last week, asking the Minister to explain the clauses on Chinese-funded infrastructure projects in Nigeria. Instead, the Minister argued that the probe into Nigeria’s use of foreign loans to finance infrastructure projects could negatively affect how foreign lenders perceive the country and also impact further financing for future projects.

(READ MORE: China more willing to restructure Africa’s debt than private creditors)

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Later during his recent Channels TV interview, the Minister said Nigeria is not Madagascar or Sri Lanka and has been keeping up with payment plans for the loan. “ No country has complained about Nigeria’s loan obligations,” Amaechi said.

Although he acknowledged Nigeria has debt over revenue problems, he made it clear that “that does not mean we have at any point in time refused to pay our loans.”

Amaechi then claimed that only a criminally-minded person would have issues with the loan terms. “Only those who don’t want to repay are worried about the clauses. If we repay our loans we won’t get arbitration,” he said.

The Minister also disclosed that the Ministry of Finance has repaid up to $98 million of the loans, adding, “those are standard international commitment clauses” and that no loan can be taken by the government without the approval of the National assembly.

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Economy & Politics

NDDC reveals more lists of contracts awarded to federal legislators

The Commission said it released the list to expose committee chairmen in the National Assembly.

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NDDC corruption probe: Commission denies spending N81.5 billion in 6 months 

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) said there is another list of emergency contracts that were awarded to National Assembly members in 2017 and 2019. This list was not submitted to National Assembly following the recent probe of the NDDC.

This disclosure was made in a press statement by the NDDC earlier today which was signed by the commission’s Director for Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili. According to the statement, the initial list that was submitted by the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, was actually compiled by the former management of the commission in 2018, not the minister himself.

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READ ALSO: Explained: CBN’s powers to seize bank account of criminals

The statement by the NDDC went further to note that the Interim Management Committee of the Commission stands by the list which came from the files already in the possession of the forensic auditors.

The Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Commission stands by the list, which came from files already in the possession of the forensic auditors. It is not an Akpabio list but the NDDC’s list. The list is part of the volume of 8,000 documents already handed over to the forensic auditors,” the statement said in parts.

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READ MORE: 2021 Budget: FG projects spending plan of N11.86 trillion and deficit of N5.16 trillion

In the meantime, the NDDC has urged prominent indigenes of the Niger Delta, whose names appeared on that list, not to panic, because the NDDC is aware that their names were used to secure contracts. The ongoing forensic audit would help to unearth those behind those contracts, the NDDC said in the statement.

Furthermore, the commission disclosed that it released the list to expose committee chairmen in the National Assembly who used fronts to collect contracts from the NDDC, some of which were never executed. Interestingly, the list did not include the unique case of 250 contracts that were signed for and collected in one day by one person, ostensibly for members of the National Assembly.

While assuring that the forensic audit exercise is on course, the NDDC noted that the commission had positioned 185 media support specialists to identify the sites of every project captured in its books for verification by the forensic auditors.

READ MORE: NDDC Probe: Akpabio accuses NASS members of getting most of the commission’s contracts

The NDDC then enjoined members of the public not to be distracted or swayed by a lot of misinformation and falsehood that are being orchestrated by mischief makers, even as more of such will be expected by those opposed to the IMC.

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It can be recalled that Akpabio, while appearing before the members of the house of representatives ad-hoc committee probing the N40 billion corruption allegation against the IMC of NDDC, said that most of the contracts that are being awarded at the commission were given to members of the national assembly.

READ ALSO: Akpabio denies accusing Reps of receiving 60% of NDDC contracts

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Not that likely, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, asked the minister to provide within 48 hours, the names of the legislators that benefitted from such contracts with full details or face legal action.

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Senator Akpabio, in response to the ultimatum, sent an official letter to the Speaker, providing the names of the national assembly members that benefitted from such contracts.

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