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Reps Summon Finance Minister, Demand Subsidy Payment Details



By Linda Ike

The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planing, Zainab Ahmed, to appear before its Adhoc committee investing Oil Subsidy Payment, next week for questioning on petroleum products subsidy payments in the last nine years.

The committee also mandated the minister to appear with all documents relating to subsidy claims and payments during the period under review.

The summon was issued on Tuesday by the Adhoc committee investigating oil subsidy payments between 2013 to 2022 at the investigative hearing in National Assembly

This followed absence of the Finance Minister was represented by the director home in the ministry of finance, Stephen Okon.

Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Ibrahim Aliyu also expressed dissatisfaction over the absence of many agencies and companies from the investigation, including the Department of State Services, Shell, Inspector General of Police, Office of the Accountant-General and others.

The Committee demanded some documents and information from the minister which he said were necessary for the investigation.

“This committee requested from you to know that total amount released from the consolidated revenue account as subsidy payments from January 2013 to date.

“The total amount release from other accounts other than the consolidated revenue account to subsidy payments from January 2013 to date, breakdown of beneficiaries; companies that enjoyed releases from consolidated revenue account and other revenue accounts as subsidy payments.

“Identify each beneficiary with the amount sent to them month by month covering the period between January 2013 to date. All correspondences between the federal ministry of finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria regarding subsidy payments from January 2013 to date.

“Evidence of lodgement of forex into consolidated revenue account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation now limited as revenue from January 2013 to date. Outstanding deposits expected from the NNPC to the consolidated revenue account indicating periods, years and dates.

“Statement of account of all bank documents, evidence of NNPC and its affiliates, subsidiaries transfer of funds to the Treasury Single Account in line with the directives of the President and commander in chief; statement of accounts operated by NNPC and subsidiaries under TSA regime.

“List of commercial bank account operated by NNPC and subsidiaries before the advent of the TSA, balance of forex yet to be transfer to TSA by NNPC and its subsidiaries. We are giving the minister of finance one week to appear before this committee and make presentations.” he said.

The Director of Home Finance had earlier requested for more time to enable the ministry collate the needed information and documents as demanded by the lawmakers.

“The ministry holds the House in very high esteem, however, I was not sent here to make any presentation or submission but to ask for an extension of time to enable us to put all documents needed to make our presentation and submission.

“I sincerely apologise on behalf of the Ministry for not sending a letter of authorisation for me to represent the ministry.” he stated.

In another Development, the committee demanded some relevant documents from Sahara Energy Resources, one of the companies being investigated.

The Sahara Energy was represented at
Uroma Benson-Oko at the hearing.

The lawmakers observed discrepancies it made in documents submitted to the Committee wherein, Sahara Trade signed a letter of authorisation on behalf of Sahara Energy.

The Committee resolved to ascertain the incorporation of the company, insisting that Sahara Trade was a foreign company not registered in Nigeria.

Moving a motion to that led to the resolution, a member of the committee Mark Gbillah from Benue stated that “In the agreement, it said that Sahara Energy Resources, a company incorporated under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but on oath, the representative of Sahara said it is not a Nigerian Company.

“So, Mr Chairman, I want to move a motion that they provide us with the incorporation status of Sahara Energy Resources, including their address, shareholding and profile of the company. My concern here is that an entity which does not meet the turnover that is indicated as a requirement for this transaction is being engaged to participate in this critical expenditure of our common wealth and the fact that this company has no presence in Nigeria.”

The Chairman of the committee, Hon. Aliyu in hiis rulling mandated the oil company to appear in one week time with the documents.

“We are only discharging our constitutional responsibility and we are empowered by law to summon anyone and their failure to do so might lead to serious sanctions or consequences.

“We resolved that Sahara Energy Resources should provide all the relevant documents and information as captured in the motion and should make appearance in the next two weeks. The CEO should appear”, he said.

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