Yesterday, the federal government made a stunning revelation about how the immediate past administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan spent N3.8trillion and $2.1billion respectively without approval.
The National Economic Council (NEC), which gave the hint after its maiden meeting in Aso Rock, Abuja, yesterday, revealed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) generated a total of N8.1trillion but remitted only N4.3trillion to the federation account between 2012 and May 2015.
According to it, the shortfall (about N3.8trillion) was withheld and spent by the NNPC within the period in review.
It also disclosed that, between November 2014 and when it handed over on May 29, 2015, the former administration withdrew and spent a total of $2.1billion from the excess crude account without the approval of NEC.
In line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to recover stolen funds, NEC at its meeting yesterday set up a four-man committee to comb the books of the NNPC in order to investigate remittances and the operations of the excess crude account as well as the federation account by the former government.
Governors Abdulazeez Yari (Zamfara), Adams Oshiomole (Edo), Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna) and Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom) governor made these disclosures while briefing journalists after the first NEC meeting of the new administration.
Members of the four-man committee are the governors of Edo, Gombe, Kaduna and Akwa Ibom.
They are to go through the books of NNPC, the excess crude account and the federation account to find out how the said monies were spent.
Specifically on the NNPC probe, the committee was mandated to specially go through the corporation’s records to ascertain the state of the excess crude and ascertain what was remitted and what was not remitted into the federation account.
President Buhari had last Friday dissolved the board of the NNPC to pave the way for a full scale investigation to ascertain the veracity of some tips made available to him on the missing funds.
Oshiomole said this was the first time the NNPC and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation were briefing NEC following a directive by the president that they should to provide information in black and white on issues relating to the total sales of Nigeria’s crude from 2012 to May 2015.
He said, “This has never happened before and for us this is profound. We are talking about transparency, we are talking about change. And what we saw from those numbers – I believe that Nigerians are entitled to know – is that whereas the NNPC claimed to have earned N8.1 trillion, what NNPC paid into the federation account from 2012 to May 2015 was N4.3trillion.
Oshiomhole added that, from what was revealed, it was clear that the NNPC did not respect the constitution’s stipulated policy for sharing by constituting a budget to be followed.
He said, “If NNPC needs to spend money, it is obliged to prepare its budget like every other business enterprise. That budget will be scrutinized by the executive and forwarded to the National Assembly and the National Assembly will accordingly appropriate it.