Home » CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria), Latest Politics, National Politics, Senate, Top Stories » Sanusi wrong over alleged missing $49.8b, says Senate

Sanusi wrong over alleged missing $49.8b, says Senate

• Rejects panel’s proposal to stop fuel subsidy

• Wants speedy passage of PIB

• Mark blames executive, legislature for graft

IT is not true that  $49.8 billion oil money is missing from the Federation Account as alleged by a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Senate declared Thursday.

Adopting the report of its Finance Committee, which investigated the matter, the upper legislative chamber, however, rejected a recommendation that subsidy on petroleum products be halted.

And Senate President, David Mark declared that both the legislative and executive arms of the Federal Government were guilty of failure to fight the inefficiency in the petroleum industry.

After an exhaustive debate on the report of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led committee, the Senate equally endorsed the recommendation that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) should be given accelerated passage as a way of curbing the corruption in the industry.

The major thrust of the report was its submission that “there was never any unremitted $49.8 billion” as it stated that “The committee could not see how the figure of $49.8 billion was arrived at by the CBN governor in the first instance.”

An attempt by Senator Sadiq Yar’ Adua, (APC, Katsina State) to cause the Senate to postpone the consideration of the report was overruled by Mark who also decried references made by Yar’Adua to the fact that some findings of the committee could warrant the impeachment of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Other recommendations of the committee include: “That the Senate accepts the subsidy deducted by NNPC in the sum of $1.2 billion (N180) billion for fourth quarter of 2011 since it was certified by PPPRA and appropriated by the National Assembly. This is without prejudice to the outcome of forensic audit conducted by the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation and PWC.

“That the Senate accepts the subsidy deducted by NNPC from January 2012 to July 2013 of $5.254 billion (N813, 803 billion) since it was certified by PPPRA and appropriated by the National Assembly.

“That President Goodluck Jonathan should prepare and present to the National Assembly, a supplementary budget to cover the over- expenditure in the sum of N90.693 billion for PMS subsidy for 2012 and the sum of N685.919 billion for kerosene subsidy expended without appropriation by the National Assembly in 2012 and 2013.

“That National Assembly should expeditiously pass the Petroleum Industry Bill.”

Sanusi had written Jonathan on the non-remittance to the Federation Account by the NNPC of $49.8billion, representing 76 per cent of the value of crude oil lifting from January 2012 to July 2013.

But the committee stated that all the agencies, which made presentations to it, agreed, after reconciliation, that $47 billion out of the $67 billion had been credited to the Federation Account, leaving only $20 billion yet to be accounted for.

According to the report, part of the outstanding $20 billion was the $5.254 billion spent on subsidy for Premium Motor Spirit by the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, which was covered by the Appropriation Acts of 2012 and 2013.

The report also stated that the $3.512 billion spent for kerosene subsidy as certified by PPPRA for the period January 2012 to July 2013 was still part of the $20 billion.

In a remark after the debate, Mark said: “At the inception of the seventh Senate, I did say emphatically that there is no issue in this country that we cannot discuss as respected and distinguished senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  If we have the courage to set up a committee, nothing will stop us from taking the report of that committee and nothing will be swept under the carpet in this red chamber.

“I think what is glaring from this report is that we are all guilty.  If the committees expected to carry out oversight functions on the NNPC were doing their job very well, we wouldn’t have needed the governor of Central Bank to ring an alarm bell before reacting.”

“Whether the alarm is genuine or not, is another matter. The executive may have good reasons but the legislature obviously does not have reasons not to find out. Let me appeal to the various committees to endeavour to do their work.

Facts are different from rumours and what we have before us are the facts based on the interview conducted by the committee on public hearing and on all the documents that they could put together.

“One thing is very obvious, due process has not been followed and they have stated so very clearly.

“On the issue of subsidy, I want to appeal that we should not pit ourselves against the public opinion. If subsidy has to be removed, there must be public enlightenment and education so that facts would be made available to the people and then public opinion at the end of the day will count.

“If we sit here now and say remove subsidy, I think those who are benefitting from subsidy are very powerful and tomorrow they would influence media report and twist it to create an impression that the Senate is anti-people.

“If the subsidy has to go, I don’t have problems with that but let us sensitise the people over a very long period of time so that everybody will be carried along and everybody will be on board and we then can take a final decision on the issue of subsidy because the recommendations are far- reaching.”

Senators took turns to bare their minds on the report. Senator Ayogu Eze commended the committee for the professional work carried out by them especially when they decided to hire professional auditors who made it possible for them to come up with such a report.

He said it was amazing that the governor of the CBN then, who was supposed to know the facts, was misleading the country by giving conflicting reports.

He suggested that the country should do away with subsidy and that those who had been found to have enriched themselves illegally through the proceeds from oil sales should be punished.

Senator Ahmed Lawan described the development as a wakeup call not only for the executive but for the legislature. He noted that the lawmakers saddled with the responsibility of carrying out oversight on the activities of the NNPC seemed to have gone to sleep while government appointees were busy spending public funds without seeking the approval of the National Assembly. He demanded more time for the members to study the report properly and take adequate actions.

-Guardian

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Posted by on Jul 10 2014. Filed under CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria), Latest Politics, National Politics, Senate, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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