The House of Representatives is set to probe the whereabouts of $14.9 billion (about N3 trillion) profit the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Company paid to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The amount represents dividends accruing from the sales of liquefied gas from 2004 to 2014 and which the NLNG Company said it paid into the corporation’s accounts.
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, who said this at the weekend, added that the committee would move a motion of urgent national importance at plenary tomorrow to compel the NNPC to bring relevant documents.
But, the NNPC has moved to stop the House from getting the documents as its lawyer, Mike Ozekhome & Co Chambers, wrote the House Committee last Friday saying it has no right to request for the LNG accounts.
Speaking at the weekend, Adeola said: “Just about a month ago, we invited the NLNG to appear before the committee on Public Accounts. They came and told us that Federal Government has 51 per cent holding in the LNG while 41 per cent is owned by Shell and others in the private sector.
“Yes, if we have 51 per cent, how much of these funds have returned to the Federal Government as dividend? They said they have it. And between 2004 and 2014, they remitted to the NNPC coffers in form of dividends $14.9 billion.
“We wrote to NNPC asking for an evidence for the sources of revenue, the bank statements, and if there is any expenditure for that account and any other item they can furnish us with.
“We received a letter from their lawyer, Mike Ozekhome & Co, quoting Section 88 and other relevant sections of the constitution as to why they cannot and will not come before the committee with these particular documents.”
The lawmaker said Ozekhome’s chamber was a private law firm and did not represent the law courts and that NNPC’s action showed “that there is more to what we’re seeing.”
He stated that the committee made a simple request on transactions that concern the generality of Nigerians, “and the next line of action is to go to your lawyer to start writing us and from there move to court to seek injunction preventing us from that document.
“This tells you the extent to which they have used the judiciary to stall a lot of investigations we are carrying out as a House.
“And on Tuesday (tomorrow), I want to come by a motion of urgent national importance so that the House can know what is in the offing as far as NLNG is concerned,” the committee chair said.
He noted that a similar fate befell the investigation of the N10 billion allegedly used by the Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Allison- Madueke, for chartered flights for private travels.
A court injunction truncated the probe by the same House Committee.