EXCLUSIVE: Presidency pressures Senate to halt probe of missing N8 trillion oil funds

Former President Goodluck Jonathan

The Nigerian Senate has come under intense pressure from the presidency, the petroleum ministry and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC] to abandon a planned investigation into the disappearance of a staggering $48.9 billion (about N8 trillion) crude oil money, senators have told PREMIUM TIMES.

A Senate investigative hearing into the scandal, regarded as one of Nigeria’s biggest fraud, billed to commence Thursday, was rescheduled for next Tuesday.

Senators told PREMIUM TIMES the move was part of efforts by the upper chamber of parliament to deflect a growing pressure from multiple government offices, including the presidency, demanding that the probe be suspended.

Lawmakers said the government fears its defiant Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, whose leaked letter to President Goodluck Jonathan first exposed the huge fraud, might provide even far more damaging details at a public hearing.

“The government is suspicious that Sanusi might embarrass President Jonathan and the administration at the hearing,” a senator  familiar with the matter said. “So, the presidency and the petroleum ministry are pressuring us not to hold the hearing.

“But we have decided to go ahead. The best concession we made was to shift the hearing forward from Thursday to Tuesday.  We can’t cancel it because Nigerians will ask questions.”

In his memo to the president in September 2013, Mr. Sanusi detailed how state-run oil firm, the NNPC, systematically sliced 76 percent of crude oil proceeds between 2012 and 2013, a heist that totalled $48.9 billion.

For each barrel of crude sold, Mr. Sanusi said referencing sales and shipping documents, the NNPC only paid 24 percent of the proceeds into federal government coffers, while the balance was siphoned in an unspecified account.

Many Nigerians fear  the money may have been stolen by government officials, but the administration insists not a kobo is missing. Yet, it has failed to fully account for the funds which is the equivalent of Nigeria’s national budget for two years.

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has called for extensive investigation, saying claims by the NNPC were unconvincing, and that it was suspicious the missing funds were in private pockets.

But the NNPC has since denied the CBN claims, accusing Mr. Sanusi of being ill-informed of the workings of the oil and gas sector. The corporation claimed the purported missing funds were received by other agencies of government, including the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, and the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR.

At an early meeting with the Senate in December, Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, told lawmakers the missing sum had been “reconciled” and that respective agencies — including Mr. Sanusi’s CBN– had realized that the outstanding figure was a “mere $10.8 billion”.

Mr. Sanusi rejected that figure, and pegged the outstanding sum at $12 billion.

Still, the finance minister claimed the outstanding $10.8 billion was not “missing” as the process of “reconciling” the accounts continued.

But in a surprising twist, the NNPC, offering no new proofs, now claims the outstanding $10.8 billion was spent on fuel subsidy and maintenance of oil pipelines.

The Senate Committee on Finance now wants to get to the root of that discrepancy. Senators said they were pushing ahead with their investigation and the House of Representatives has indicated it might be conducting a separate probe.

The Senate committee on finance, which is conducting the probe, said Friday it has received submissions from some agencies of government ahead of the commencement of the public hearing.

Its chairman, Ahmed Makarfi, however denied facing any pressures.

“I’m not aware of any pressures, and as far as I know, relevant MDAs are making their written submissions,” said Mr. Makarfi told PREMIUM TIMES late Friday via a text message.

But in separate interviews, some members of the committee said they were facing increasing pressure from the executive and the presidency to abandon any inquiry into the missing money.

Those who spoke to us insisted their names be withheld  because of the sensitivity of the matter.

“Our chairman is only being diplomatic,” one of our sources said. “There is pressure everywhere but we want to go ahead because our integrity is at stake.”

Our sources said the government is uncomfortable that Mr. Sanusi, whom the president has asked to resign from his post ahead of the expiration of his tenure in June, might make far more damaging revelations if allowed to testify publicly.

On the contrary, the presidency has offered to allow the hearing proceed if the Senate committee would avail it of Mr. Sanusi’s submitted presentation to enable administration officials prepare an appropriate rebuttal.

The lawmakers said they rejected that suggestion.

Neither the presidency nor the CBN spokespersons responded to our inquiries on  the matter on Friday.


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  • Usman

    why investigating?, his people don’t want that and it is their money, it is better you did not waste your resources, the CBN Governor has done his best, oil money should be for the Niger Delta and if possible, let all regions be autonomous, we are tired of dirty money

    • Jojito

      I share your view Danbaba. Let him use the money to buy weapons for Niger Delta.

      • redeem

        why would u not share such satanic views with clowns because sanusi is fulani–he is an untouchable–rat in Nigeria

    • redeem

      As the debate on the 2014 budget continued in the Senate yesterday, Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business,

      Senator Eta Enang, on Wednesday accused the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, of committing acts inimical to fiscal prudence and development of the country.

      The Senate said that Sanusi had constituted a government to himself by embarking on the construction of N98 billion international convention centre in Abuja without appropriation by the National Assembly.

      According to him, the contract for the centre was approved by Contracts Tender Board of the CBN without the authority of Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

      Enang believes that building an international convention centre, which includes auditorium, exhibition/multi-functional halls, restaurants, shops, a five-star and three-star hotels, after purchasing the defunct Nigeria Telecommunications Limit (NITEL) building at the Central Business Area (CBA) of Abuja, amounted to stretching the CBN mandate too far.

      ‘How much did the CBN use in buying the NITEL building at the central area? How much and who was paid to control bomb the building in demolition, which land is now for the CBN five-star hotel and convention centre? Could this money not be used to fund the national budget?’ Enang queried.

      Other unauthorised spending by the CBN, according to him, included funding of hotels in Jos, Plateau State; Ilorin, Kwara State; among others, to the tune of N10 billion each, besides the N50 billion, which he said, was proposed for one hospital in Lagos.

      • Bestman

        …don’t border to educate Nigerians who are even more educated than you are, so if Mr. Enang believes he is right on this, he should go to the EFCC.
        Nigerians want more cases of corruption exposed and resulted positively.

        • redeem

          u mean the senate should not investigate Sanusi-because he is Fulani abi? Mumu they will and after that hand him over to the efcc for prosecution-he is a big thief–awarding contract worth 89b and dashing money to hotels where he often goes to bed married women-

          • Sincerely Yours

            We (I) am not interested in your epistles. If Sanusi has done any wrong or misappropriated funds, the authorities know what to do. As for that senator enang, he is a mischief maker. Always grandstanding. If I am not mistaken, isn’t he the same senator who went to town with ‘the northerners owning more than 85% of oil wells”. That story was debunked so fast, although some die hard illiterates are still peddling it. And Is your wife one of the women you allege sanusi frolicks with? What’s your own? You lot and your story telling.

          • John

            Again provide fact and reasons not ‘mumu’, the big mumus are those that call others mumu to ease pains for the failure caused by those they protect. Nigerians have come of age you can’t misguide us with sentiments.

          • Bestman

            point of correction please, I am never against the senate or any other authorized body to probe Mal. Sanusi, what I am only saying is that the point of 10.8b US dollar Mal. Sanusi rise must never be swept away just like that. Let all corrupt Nigerians be exposed and sent to Kuje.

          • John

            I absolutely cocur with your objectivity, and that is what we need in this Country, thank for the correction!

        • redeem

          TEN WHY ARE U HERE WITH YR YEYE VIEWS

          • john

            Dafts never think, just make unnecessary abuses to mask their weaknesses!
            I believe Ijaws are not human beings but created from oil… because that is all they know. ..wake and be part of the real world!

      • Lanre

        Mr redeem, why are you hear selling stories to us, if Sanisi has done any wrong, senate should summon him and query him. Efcc should invite and prosecute him, or does he have immunity also? Your market no dey sell for here guy, move abeg. You and your people in Aso rock will be the first govt to be probed in Nigerian history. Redeem the big thief.

  • Amina

    So why won’t there be revolution in this country.coruption had eating up peoples brain.why is the country like this.when ar we going to have a good leadership in this country.so sad a country.honetly I weep for this country.whenar we oing to have good governance.we have a sitting president that doesn’t care.this is an open robbery of tax payers money..

    • Usman

      big question

    • redeem

      YR RELATIONS FROM THE FULANI NORTH HAS BEEN IN CHARGE OF 9JA FOR 39 YRS THEN U NEVER ASKED FOR A REVOLUTION UNTIL BOKO HARAM CAME –GO AND START THE REVOLUTION–TOO MUCH OIL REVENUE IS WHAT IS TROUBLING YOU-

  • Amina

    This is another robbery of tax payers money.honestly who will save this country.i wonder how this people sleep with all this $ lodge in foreign accounts.very,very sad..what I know is that there children will uffer.

    • timi

      Yes ooo, dey will ooo, cos the curse of the Lord is in the house of the thief

    • timi

      Yes ooo, dey will ooo, cos the curse of the Lord is in the house of the thief

    • Timipa

      BUHARI WILL, WITH OR WITHOUT IDIEAGBON

  • kayode Olufade

    If Nigerians are waiting for the senate to get to the bottom of this issue, we will be in for a long unproductive wait. The Fed Govt’s disquiet on this issue is highly irregular and throws a lot of suspicion their way. Be open and accountable, it’s about the only way to make everyone trust and believe in you

    • redeem

      It is beyond comprehension the level of loan, the Rivers state government have been securing in the last 10 months with no project to attach to them. The state have borrowed about N230billion is the last 10 months.

      The Rivers state government took a loan of N120bn from Zenith Bank, Access Bank, GTBank and First Bank last week. The approval for this loan came from the State House of Assembly with less than 20 minutes deliberation.
      The same House of Assembly set a record a fortnight ago by approving a nearly Half a Trillion Naira 2014 budget in one sitting with deliberating on what the said funds will be allocated to.

      Well, what can one say?

      Rivers state collected a total of N257bn as allocation for the first 10months of last year. That should give you an idea of how much has passed into that state. Yet TIMARIV workers are owed 6 months salary, the 13,000 teachers are owed 5 months salary.

      Instead of sitting down to address the real problems back home, the State Governor is going around the country, running for unsolicited errands and lately, acting as driver to people not brave enough to face law enforcement agencies.

      Amaechi’s case is rather simple, since he has the state House of assembly members under his armpit, all he has to do is just borrow and borrow to fund his excesses and shift the burden to future generations.

      • redeem

        SOON THE CLOWNS WILL BE HERE TO DEFEND AMAECHI BECAUSE HE IS WITH AREWA PEOPLES CLUB–APC

        • Issei

          And your with ijaw nation

          • redeem

            WHY NOT-WE DID NOT SAIL FROM FREETOWN TO NIGERIA OR WERE ESCORTED BY LORD LUGARD FROM SUDAN TO SOKOTO

      • OkoAbeni

        The discussion is about FGN. The Rivers people should xray Amaechi and if found wanting should push him here for us to castigate for now its GEJ in the courts without any defence.

  • redeem

    Why would the president pressure the senate not to investigate a 10b fund-when the man called Sanusi awarded a contract of over 98b without passing through the proper channel set up by government for the award of contract? U know PT with their APC teleguided fake stories. Besides why did they miss the story on Sanusi-concerning the said contract–until oil revenue is collected by d SS –corruption will never end in Nigeria–how can the governor of CBN claim not to know how 10b was spent-by NNPC?

    • Ihsan Jibril

      Why are you particularly concerned with the wrongdoings of SLS, he is not a perfect man? Why are you diverting attention from the real issue? The question here is where is the money? We can open another chapter to discuss SLS. And just because SLS may be wrong does not make those who stole the money right. Period.

      • Okey

        Why this cattle reasoning, so Jonathan is a perfect man?

        • Whatever

          Cattle reasoning? Why are you using insults to still divert away from the issue? He/she never called anyone’s name. We all are simply interested, as any Nigerian should be, in where is the money?

          • Okey

            Really sorry. But the “reasoning” ? – Our man is too quick to make a case for Sanusi, that he is human who may not be perfect, but he was not charitable enough to grant or make the same allowance for the object of his criticism -Jonathan. He is even so unfair as not to weigh the harbinger of this piece of news -Premiums Times – whose position on the President is very notorious.

    • Nija pikin

      It’s like you don’t know the full story I advice you not to push the Cbn to the wall bcos it’s a can of warms and scorpion sanusi didn’t award a contract for 98B ask mohammed Adoke(Attorney general of nija) madam Stella Oduah, AA oil who paid a kick back of 10B to GEJ’s neigbhour to neigbhour through STELLA oduah when she was working in GEJ 2011 re election campaign and the same AA oil build the massive White House like building facing transcop hilton in abuja for oga at the top, it’s part of the reason stellah couldn’t be sacked and sunusi too was ask to continue till his retirement date after he was almost forced to go oga at the top was reminded dat 98b project was financed tru cbn(sunusi). So let me stop here bcos there are more but this is enough.

      • redeem

        HOW DID SANUSI YR FULANI BROTHER AWARD A CONTRACT OF 89B WITHOUT GOING THROUGH THE NORMAL PROCESS–JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION- AND WHY IS HE UNDER INVESTIGATIONS BY THE SENATE-

  • esaulogbon

    We are now ruled by a gang of hoodlums.

    • redeem

      DOES IT INCLUDE OBJ

      • Clear Water

        Stop defending the indefensible.

      • Tonnero

        OBJ is not even a public officer and has not been for 7 years (almost two terms of a sitting president).

      • Issei

        Including mama peace

  • Ette

    Discernible Nigerians do not need SANUSI to tell them that $49.8m is missing as the matter is very clear. Normal thing is to pay all federally collectible money including proceeds of sales of petroleum products into the CBN before appropriate authorities issue credits authorities for the various accounts to be credited. So whether it was FIRS or DPR or NPDC or NNPC all the revenues should have gone into CBN first before disbursement on appropriate authorities. Anything outside this laid down process was stealing of the money. So if the entire $49.8b was not seen in CBN it was stolen just as the NGF has confirmed. This was indeed wicked stealing that should not be allowed to be buried. Senate cannot achieved anything as part of the stolen money will be shared with them to keep quite. Oduah shared her stolen fund with them and that was the end of the matter. The hope of Nigerians is that the House will be able to get to the bottom of the matter and cause this huge some to be recovered.

    • redeem

      IS IT 49 OR 10B–SANUSI MUST BE INSANE TO ALLEGE THAT THE PROCEEDS OF OIL SOLD IN THE OPEN MARKET DOES NOT PASS THROUGH THE CBN- BESIDES WHO AUTHORIZED HIM TO SPEND 89B TO BUILD A CONFERENCE CENTRE–WHEN THE MINISTER OF FCT TRIED TO ERECT ONE FOR MRS JONATHAN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY WAS LED TO OPPOSE IT–WHY IS SANUSI NOW ERECTING SIMILAR CENTRE WITHOUT A SINGLE VOICE FROM THE FAKE ISLAMIC PARTY APC OPPOSING IT AS THEY DID THAT OF MADAM-WHICH WAS ONLY 14B

      • Clear Water

        My friend you make a fool of yourself trying to defend the indefensible. This govt. led by Jonathan is rotten.

      • Lanre

        Uncle Redeem has shown his insincerity, very visible this is a govt sponsored personality, using the word “MADAM”, we need noboy to tell us he is Jonathan’s boy. The same way Jonathan has ruled Nigeria is the same way I pray God himself will rule your life.

    • emmanuel

      I sorry for you, so na from Federation account dem day pay petroleum tax? Which kind school you go?

      Common sense is not common.

      PT lier, your stable is dry of anti- Jonathan concoction, so na this story when Don fail long ago una still day brandish?

      • Ette

        Petroleum taxes are,paid by IOCs to FIRS and all are paid into FIRS account through CBN. If you do not know how it work, at least you should know that CBN is federal govt bank meaning all govt revenues and expenditures are carried out through the CBN. Whatever financial transactions that federal govt and its agencies carry out outside CBN is corruption.

  • Efe1

    GEJ has broken all the bad records.

    • Tonnero

      And set new bad records in areas where there were none.

    • redeem

      WHAT ABOUT THE GOVERNOR OF CBN

    • Tunji

      You got that right. The most corrupt President ever.

  • SUNNY

    Nigerians should not be too moved. This monumental stealing is part of the Transformational Agenda of GEJ and his cabal to totally annihiliate the country. My concern is that this lame duck president has the grace of the biblical King Saul and like the monarch, he does not know how to use such. Like Saul, GEJ has expired and has lost the holy spirit. Ride on the Saul of our time.

    • redeem

      did he steal more than tinubu who bankrupted LAGOS STATE

      • Issei

        Your question should directed to mama peace because only her can tell if he steal more or less than Tinubu

      • PRINCE

        I wonder why some pple are so gullible by compairing corruptions in their attempt to support GEJ. You are more armed robber than me, you theif pas me, you lie pass me…………
        What is bad is bad, let’s conderm it.

      • PureNigerian

        So why is the lame duck president not prosecuting Tinubu and the likes. You see, that is why we concluded that he is inept, clueless, inexperience, fraudulent and a conniving bastard with nothing upstairs.

  • redeem

    SAME OLD FAKE STORIES-

    • Sincerely Yours

      Takes one fake story teller to know another.

  • Where is Mr Benneth Ozor on this forum? He claimed the sum of USD$10.8billion had been reconciled based on the wishy-washy explanation by NNPC.. This is open robbery of the highest order and the country needs to cry to the highest heights. This explains why there is massive hunger, poverty and unemployment in the land. The repercussions are what is manifesting in Kidnappings, prostitution, armed robbery etc

  • Lanre

    Nothing is going to come out of the senate hearings. Nothing. The money is gone and Nigerians are in bondage/slavery.

  • New Jersey

    I am surprised. Okonjo and NNPC are taken Nigerians for ride. Other agencies collecting money from the sales our crude do not have accounts with CBN? Is it possible for CBN governor to make that allegation of US$49billion without checking the accounts of other agencies? For NNPC and Cordinating Minister to convince us no money is missing they need to publically open the books of NNPC and the other agencies. I believe CBN governor and his officials are not stupid to allege US$49billion rather than US$10billion. Please National Assembly do not disappoint. Do not treat this case like the bullet proof vehicles.

  • Comfortkay

    Nigeria l hail thee, why should the Senators stop the probing of this huge amount of money, what kind of people are in the Presidency? Well GEJ will definately be One term President and he better start thinking of what he going to do after 2015 election because Nigerian will reject him, and by the way what is the purpose of NNPC in Nigeria?

  • Hassan

    Premium Times keeps coming up with all sorts of hearsay cloaked as news. The issue of waivers and the NNPC billions appear to be the medium’s favourite these days as it keeps recycling stories and rumours in these areas.

  • Where is Mr Benneth Ozor on this forum? He claimed the sum of USD$10.8billion had been reconciled based on the wishy-washy explanation by NNPC.. This is open robbery of the highest order and the country needs to cry to the highest heights. This explains why there is massive hunger, poverty and unemployment in the land. The repercussions are what is manifesting in Kidnappings, prostitution, armed robbery etc

  • uduakomiri

    Dis whole tory, I no know who I fit believe sha as I know say all of dem na liars. FG is run by drunken Bayelsa man wen only sabi how to drink and chop but hin no get sense even with a Ph.D from the Zoo. Make una see am nah, mumu people go elect GEJ from the Zoo, now hin dey run di country like a zoo with hin bozo wife wen dey kill grama like Boko Haram dey kill people.
    As for Sanusi, di guy do well expose his incompetence, and his silence over the numerous wuruwuru wen dis government done dey rock tay tay. Mallam only talk when hin know say handshake done pass elbow.
    As for our senators, dis gufu peoples jus dey whine mouth. We know say all kinds of probe for naija as far as e concern gofmenti corruption na market for di lawmakers. Una don forget fuel subsidy report? Una don forget Okadigbo contract inquiry? Una don forget all di numerous contract probes under previous senators and house of reps, wetin come be the result? Lawmakers chop bribe wipe mouth. So dis probe na opportunity for senators to sell market. The lawmakers go just use the press whip the country into frenzy. FG go fear, the more people and papers talk about this missing money, di more the amount of the bribe lawmakers go demand from FG dey go up.
    As I siddon here with Hajia Aishatu, come dey rub her something, I dey see am say for dis country, we na slaves to our fellow country men and women, di politicians.
    ‘Oya, Aishatu, remove dis veil nah make action start!!!’

    • Guguru

      hehehehehe

  • Guguru

    The lies are so many, so thick, and so muscular under GEJ, that much of the lies can no longer be hidden in good faith. Sanusi was not the first whistleblower. Chattham House of the UK, and Berne Declaration of Switzerland, all have made similar or same claims. It is not the looting that is the problem, rather, it is the scale and size of the looting that is now becoming excessive and unrealistic. GEJ and his administration have reached a limit where even normal looters become very concerned.

  • Ultiman

    The comments made by us on important issues really tells me the depth of Nigeria’s woes. No issue is ever addressed without bringing up other older issues in a bit to bury criminality.
    Sanusi wrote a memo to the Presidency in September last year and up till now the Finance Ministry, NNPC and CBN is yet to harmonies and account for the missing fund. How long should Nigerians give to the Government to sort out this mess? Is the delay in balancing figures not an indication that things have gone really wrong? Can it be that few persons are pocketing amounts in the region of a 2-year budget for our dear country?
    Even though we the poor masses are helpless in forcing the government do the right thing, can’t we set aside Tribalism and unwarranted Politics in order to move our dear country forward? I wonder the kind of Nigeria we all want.
    I still find it difficult to believe that someone like Sanusi will ignorantly write a memo to the Presidency without getting his facts correct.
    If matters of this magnitude are swept under the carpet, then I am sorry to say – “Nigeria is doomed until we have no more oil and gas to block our thinking faculty”.

  • Guest

    Perhaps, the enormity of the ‘missing’ fund does not immediately stand apparent; I will therefore urge the writer cum editor to explicitly state the amount in their headline by including the zeros behind 8 Trillion. This will make it clearer to the common man and get the attention it demands.