The House of Representatives has invited the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Executive Secretary, Department of Petroleum Resources, to appear before its adhoc committee on Monday, February 1, 2017 over oil licences.
This move is part of the on-going investigation into the alleged missing $1.1billion signature bonuses which accrued to the country from Oil Prospecting Licences.
The committee refused to grant audience to representatives of the agencies, as it observed that none of the representatives could present a written document authorising them to represent their chief executives in that capacity.
The Chairman of the Committee investigating the matter, Gideon Gwani at a press briefing in Abuja on Friday said despite challenges faced the committee would conclude its assignment in the next few weeks.
Mr. Gwani, noted that “The signature bonuses paid by owners of some OPLs, which amounted to over $1billion, could not be traced.
All efforts to trace the money were futile as the DPR, CBN, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), NNPC and the accountant-general’s office denied the committee details of the transaction.
DPR could not confirm if the fees claimed to have been paid by the oil companies had actually been received by the government through the CBN, the banker to the federal government.”
The Chairman said the committee, the House of Representatives and the entire National Assembly would not relent in its efforts to unveil all shoddy deals in the award of Oil Prospecting Licences, OPLs and Oil Mining Licences, OMLs in the country.
“Failure of the agencies’ to provide the required information undermines government’s fight against corruption. The development is unfortunate especially at the time when the government is in dire need of money to fund its projects.” Gwani added
He stated that the “alleged unlawful allocation of OPLs and OMLs has robbed the country of a billion-dollar revenue”, pledging to recommend possible ways to recover the loss fund.
The committee was mandated by the House of Representatives to investigate the award of all OPLs and OMLs granted to oil companies by the federal government, to, among other things, ascertain whether due process and guidelines for the acquisition of oil and gas assets were complied with.