ABUJA — The House of Representatives yesterday, ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to return N236 billion to the treasury of the Federal Government within a month.
The order was given by the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Adeola Olamilekan.
He said the order was in line with the query of the Auditor-General of the Federation which the corporation failed to defend before the committee.
Cross-Section of members of House of the Reps
Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Mr Andrew Yakubu, was billed to appear before the committee, along with the heads of the Federal Inland Revenue Service,FIRS, Petroleum Products Pricing Agency, PPPRA, and Accountant General of the Federation, among others, over the Auditor -General’s query on the fuel subsidy regime but delegated the General Manager, Process and Procedures, Mr Abdullahi Kalami, to represent him.
The committee turned back Mr Kalami on the ground that he was not competent to defend the corporation on such a sensitive matter and ruled that it should pay the N236 billion to the consolidated accounts of the federation within one month.
The PAC chairman advised that the corporation could approach a court of competent jurisdiction once the ruling was passed to the entire House for ratification, if not satisfied.
Adeola explained that the Committee took the decision as the last resort since the Corporation had refused to provide necessary documents or defend itself and that the PPPRA and other relevant agencies had appeared before the committee and submitted that the money was with the corporation.
However, Executive Director of Finance and Accounts,Mr Otti, made a sudden appearance at the Venue of the sitting about three hours after the ruling of the committee and claimed that he was on medication but the committee turned down his request to make his presentation and advised him to liaise with its secretariat to enable it to attend other agencies that were already hours behind.
The Central Bank of Nigeria,CBN which also appeared before the Committee on Monday clarified that the expenditure of N2.8billion which PAC had queried was used for the reconstruction of a new office complex for its Port Harcourt branch and not for the renovation of the old complex as earlier stated.