• Tony Igele

Reps open public hearing on alleged $17bn stolen crude today

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Department of Petroleum Resources, International Oil Companies and over 40 other firms are expected to appear on Monday (today) as the House of Representatives opens its public hearing on the alleged theft of $17bn crude oil and gas resources from the country.

The “undeclared” crude and gas resources were said to have been exported out of Nigeria between 2011 and 2014 in circumstances the House said arose from “collusion” between government agencies and crude oil exporters.

An ad hoc committee, chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Adamawa State, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, is investigating the alleged theft.

The committee, in the course of pre-hearing investigations, had summoned the NNPC, DPR and several other government agencies to provide information on the transactions.

The Central Bank of Nigeria and identified IOCs were also summoned by the committee, but their responses were described by the panel as “generally uncooperative.”

“The government agencies and their heads have not been cooperating with the committee,’’ said one committee member, who shared the fallout of the encounters between the committee and the agencies with EDOCONNECT.

“Information the committee called for was either delivered in scanty form or in the majority of cases, no responses at all.

“As a matter of fact, a general trend among the agencies and the IOCs was to send very junior officers to represent them at the pre-hearing meetings.

“Apart from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (Abubakar Malami), who came personally, many others have yet to reply the committee.

“This attitude must change as the committee goes into full public hearing.”

EDOCONNECT gathered that in one instance, the committee had queried the NNPC and the CBN to explain the imbalance of $81.2bn in crude oil sales reported between 2011 and 2014.

It was learnt that while the total crude revenue for the period came to $123.9bn, the NNPC and the CBN reported only $42.7bn, leaving a balance of $81.2bn.

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