House of Representatives, Monday, summoned the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emiefele for an explanation over N32. 5 billion said to have been paid to two companies, Messrs GSCL Consulting and Biz Plus without formal documentation.
Others summoned also were the Auditor General for the Federation, the Accountant General of the Federation, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Managing Directors of Exxon Mobil and Nigeria Agip Oil Company.
The summons was handed down by the chairman of the Ad-hoc committee of the House providing the alleged loss of 48 million barrels of crude oil worth over 2 billion dollars, Hon. Mark Gbillah at its resumed hearing.
Also summoned were Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) over unremitted 1.67 billion dollars just as the former Attorney General of the Federation, AGF Abubakar Malami (SAN) was also resummoned by the committee.
According to Gbillah, available records revealed that CBN paid N16.5 billion each to the two companies on the same day contrary to Malami’s earlier submission that he didn’t know about the payment.
He said: “Because of lack of response to the committee invitations, summon had to be issued by the House to the Managing Director of Nigeria Agip Oil Company, Minister of Foreign Affairs, SNEPCO and SPDC, Auditor General for the Federation, Central Bank Governor because of their lack of appearance to issues requested by the House, GSCL Consulting Limited and Bizplus with regard to payment of N16. 5 billion on the same day.
“So clerk you do a letter to AGF to avail us the detail of the approval for the engagement of the legal team and the related companies to carry out this investigation and provide us details of that legal team.
“In the letter, you request that the former AGF, former DG NIMASA also provide information on the status of this investigation and they will be invited in line with the submission of the report.”
Gbillah also expressed displeasure with the representative of Shell Petroleum Development Company who identified himself as Igo Weli for lack of proper supervision.
Responding to an earlier remark by the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Yusuf Jamoh who appeared before the committee about a $1.7 billion judgement sum still outstanding for the Nigerian government to claim from a company that was found guilty of making false declaration about the crude oil taken away from the country, Gbillah said the money belonged to the Nigerian people.
“There exists about 9 other cases with regard to the alleged theft of Nigerian crude. This issue is not in our imagination.
“There is a formal legal judgement on this issue and there are cases still pending with regard to Nigerian crude. I call on the Tinubu administration, relevant stakeholders and the anti-graft agencies to realize that Nigerians are waiting for an explanation regarding why the $1.7 billion has not been recovered from Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept with regard to the judgement against them since 2020.
“This is money that belongs to all Nigerians and we expect that it should be appropriately accounted for”, he said.
Speaking with newsmen thereafter, the NIMASA DG further said that the agency was monitoring all the cases in court.
He said “In 2013, when the revenue profile was low, NIMASA was directed from the Attorney General’s office to coordinate two technical teams to source data on the actual lifting of crude oil and the last destination point to see if there are any discrepancies.
“We discovered some discrepancies and worked with the legal team to look into the findings. From the findings, the legal team again discovered ten companies liable of under declaration.
“We instituted cases against those companies. Most of the cases are still in court. We won one of those cases and a directive was given by the court that $ 1.7 billion dollars be paid to the government.
“NIMASA and the Attorney General’s office continued to monitor the team of lawyers and in January this year, I wrote to them requesting for an update on the cases in court. What we discovered is that some cases on appeal and for such cases, the legal team is working on that, while still following up on the ones still at the lower court.
“These cases are not instituted in Nigeria, but the destination where the criminal acts were committed.
“The straight answer is that these cases are still in court and we have those that have not reached the stage of appeal yet. It is not only NIMASA and the Attorney General’s office that is interested in this matter. The EFCC is also interested because I know that they have been going about to investigate and make sure that the companies involved are brought to book”, he said.