The Senate committee on Gas, Thursday directed the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to submit to it documents authorising the withdrawal of $3.12 billion from the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) account within the last three years. The funds were allegedly withdrawn with 22 separate vouchers.

But the management of the NNPC represented by its Chief Financial Officer, Isiaka Abdulrasak called for the widening of scope of the committee’s investigation to cover the entire 45 withdrawals made from the said account from 1999 till date.

Abdulrasaq who willing to throw more light on the total amount withdrawn from the said account, but he was cut short by the Committee Chairman, Senator Bassey Akpan ( PDP Akwa Ibom North East). Akpan accused the NNPC official of going outside his brief.

Senator Osinachukwu Ideozu, a member of the committee also faulted Abdulrazaq’s actions, questioning his competence as the Chief Finance Officer of the NNPC.

Ideozu chided the NNPC official for being confrontational in his response to questions put to him by the committee.

The committee said there were missing links in the brief submitted to it by the management of the NNPC, stressing that this has made the committee job difficult.

Akpan consequently directed the NNPC to furnish the Committee with records of all dividends accruing from the NLNG and all withdrawals from the account since 2015.

The committee gave the NNPC up till November 30 to supply its secretariat with a comprehensive list of the 22 withdrawals made from the NLNG Dividend Account with the CBN since 2015.

The Committee also directed the Acting Director of Banking Services of the CBN, Mr Christopher Olumukore, who stood in for CBN Governor Godwin Emefele, to submit within one week all authorizations for withdrawals, including originating mandates and approvals.

Akpan added that the CBN should also submit to the Committee by November 30 statement of account of the NLNG Dividend Account domiciled with the the apex bank.

Olumukore had earlier told the committee that the Dividend Account domiciled with the apex bank was being operated by both NNPC and Ministry of Finance.

He said that mandates for withdrawals from the account were usually from the NNPC and on occasions from the Finance Minister.

The Senate had in October, mandated its Committee on Gas to investigate the alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion by NNPC from the NLNG dividend account with CBN.

The Committee was also directed to look into other withdrawals that had been made by the NNPC from the said account since 2015.

The committee will commence scrutiny of the various documents on December 1.

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