Nigeria: Missing $20 billion oil money Senate hearing – Day Two live blog

CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Welcome to our live blog of Day Two of the investigative hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance into the alleged missing N8 trillion [$20 billion] oil money.

12:04

Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says NNPC has supplied documents from the PPPRA(Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency) showing how the initial outstanding $10.8 billion was spent.

The minister however said the finance ministry had no capacity to validate the claims. As such, she said they need an independent forensic team to examine the documents.

On the $20 billion- which includes a $6 billion which CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, said should have gone to the federation, but the NNPC, through the NPDC, pushed into private pockets- Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said that will require an independent legal opinion to know who owns the money.

12:11

Finance committee chairman, Ahmed Makarfi, asked the finance minister: As the custodian of the federal government’s money, if you feel unsatisfied with what NNPC puts forward, and you said will require a forensic team, what stops you from commissioning a forensic team to verify the documents?

The minister said she hasn’t said anything has stopped her ministry from doing so. “This thing is a process,” she said.

The senate committee presses the ministry why there is need for a forensic validation now if the same PPPRA is vested with the responsibility of signing off subsidy payments.

Minister: “These are extraordinary times, otherwise we would not be sitting here. These are not ordinary times.”

12:16

The senate committee has tasked the finance ministry to commission a forensic team to examine the PPPRA/NNPC documents within one month in the first instance.

The PPPRA is called upon now to present to the committee the subsidy claims documents it has certified, which the finance minister said requires forensic validation.

12:43

The NNPC is called to make presentation. But Mr. Makarfi, the senate finance chair, insists that whatever happens, the PPPRA certification will undergo a forensic evaluation.

CBN governor: Sanusi Lamido, said regardless the explanations from the finance minister, as far as the CBN is concerned, there is an outstanding $20 billion between what NNPC shipped and what it paid to government.

Mr. Sanusi insists the outstanding $6 billion given to the NPDC should have gone to the federal government. He said the CBN has received three legal opinions on that position, and offers to bring in lawyers to defend that claim.

12:55

Sanusi: PPPRA says subsidy on kerosene is legal and that certain amount was paid. PPPRA is the agency authorized to determine that. But I have a letter from the PPPRA in 2010 telling me that they do not pay kerosene subsidy. In the end, it is left for the committee to determine whether such letter was later withdrawn. It is left for the committee to decide.

Mr. Sanusi reads a part of the PPPRA letter on stopping kerosene subsidy. The letter was signed by a former Executive Secretary, Abiodun Ibikunle.

13:08

Mr. Makarfi said it would be wrong for Mr. Sanusi to delve into the responsibilities of other agencies. He advised the CBN governor to limit himself to what he is legally empowered to do. The comment came in respect of the PPPRA’s decision to pay kerosene subsidy despite a purported presidential directive. Mr. Makarfi said it is for the PPPRA to so decide.

Petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke speaks…

13:22

Diezani Alison-Madueke said NNPC stayed action on the presidential directive on kerosene to save Nigerinas the hardship of buying at exorbitant rates.

She said if there must a forensic auditing of the PPPRA documents, then it should go all the way back to 2004 when the entire process started. She said there has been no problem since.

13:25

Mr. Makarfi asked petroleum minister if the government will continue with kerosene subsidy. The minister declines response. But Bukola Saraki, a member of the committee, said the senate is concerned about what happened not about the future. He said the question did not arise in the first place.

13:36

Ibrahim Gumba(Bauchi state), a member of the senate committee said it was a clear illegality to have continued with the kerosene subsidy which someone must account for.

Diezani Alison-Diezani shakes off responsibility for the kerosene subsidy. She said she was not in office at the time, but was only relating to the committee what happened. However, Mrs. Alison-Madueke said despite the presidential directive, it was no law because the directive was not gazetted.

That claim draws a murmur from the audience here.

13:43

NNPC Group Managing Director, Andrew Yakubu, speaks…

“The impression Nigerians have is that $10.8 billion seated in the four towers of the NNPC,” he says referring to the NNPC’s corporate office.

He said to put the records straight, the money is not seated anywhere. He explains the $10.8 billion as having been spent on subsidy, pipeline maintenance and other losses.

13:51

“Nigerians believe NNPC is sitting on money. But I want it known that these monies we are taking about are not “realizable flows”- NNPC GMD

14:11

Finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala, takes exception to a comment by a senator, Isa Galaudu, that the finance of “this country is messy”

Okonjo-Iweala claims Nigeria has one of the most transparent budget in the world that allows citizens to know how much is spent on “forks and spoons in state house”.

Mr. Galaudu said Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala must take charge and be in control. Ngozi appears emotional, and is telling the senate committee that the finance ministry has been doing its work and that it believes in transparency. “That is why we are seeking an independent forensic team for this to satisfy Nigerians,” she said.

14:58

The hearing has ended. The committee will receive a legal opinion on the NPDC $6billion next week while the finance ministry will commission a forensic examination of NNPC/PPPRA claims.


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  • Ade

    Diezani, how dear you on earth to say NNPC flunted Presidential directive so that Nigerians will not be buying Kerosine at higher price. Please, how much is Kerosine being sold now, between N130 and N150 and yet its subsidiced. I promise you, you will account for all these unprecedented looting of the Nation wealth after your tenure.

  • max

    Wait a minute Bukola Saraki who himself is in under investigation for stealing is investigating a missing money Nigeria is in a mess!

  • Obivine

    PremiumTimes can we get a video of this

  • Zubairu Usman

    Keep the brain working my dear CBGov, show them all, that over here we truly sit and pass exam.

  • Rommel

    President Jonathan,WHERE IS OUR MUCHA? stop this break dance and tell us where our mucha is,I believe Sanusi completely,$20 billion is not a small amount of money anywhere in the world and this claim by NNPC that they used $10.8 billion for maintenance costs without the knowledge of CBN should have swung that stupid agency called EFCC into action.We were accusing IBB,Abacha and OBJ’s administration of corruption,Nigerians are now witnessing the real deal.Personally I am beginning to think that it will be wise for this man not to be allowed to continue to 2015.Since his emergence,it has been governance through empty rhetoric while funds gets fleeced at alarming proportions.

  • Iyayi

    I feel quite concerned for people of indisputable integrity who have been unjustly brought into this fracas. For instance, someone like Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has no business discussing “stolen” money. It is unfortunate how a few bad eggs spoil the entire omelette.

  • Iyayi

    I hope the Senate will handle the case well and will not turn it to an avenue for victimising clean-handed people like the Finance Minister.

  • Banji

    The Finance Minister’s insistence on a forensic examination is a great move! It demonstrates her resolve to get to the root of the matter as the custodian of the nation’s economy!

  • Oyewole

    The bearing and disposition of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on this issue gives us one good reason to hope. Her commitment to openness and transparency will ensure that we get to the root of the matter.

  • Ayodeji Otiti

    As all of us can see Nigeria is dead economically and it is all because of the private, wantonly greedy, insensitive and utterly fraudulent actions of a few of our citizens, who, for mostly undeserved opportunity, found themselves to be charged with helping the nation’s economy and its overall well-being.

    It is as clear as day that Sanusi – whatever anybody may say- is dead right concerning his claim. First and foremost, a lot has been revealed by the engagement of the Senate Committee (SM) with the people and issues involved. There is therefore no denying the fact that something is putrid and fishy about the activities in the NNPC/PPPRC; and, yet, our dear madam minister of finance and economic development seems to be sleepy and lethargic over her stewardship. How does economy get developed under her when she is so slothful about the fundamentals of her duties? How can Nigeria find the necessary wherewithals to grow and develop under her watch when billions in dollars are disappearing under her nose and she says “process” does not allow her to do the right thing? May we ask our dear World-Bank-used-and-tested madam what “process”? The funny thing is that she never said anything about forensic investigation of PPPRC’s claim until now. Indeed, I cannot remember her even saying that something might not be right about these billions of dollars just paid to this and that for those and that. it is not wrong to presume that, if she had not been put under the spotlight nothing would have come out concerning forensic investigation. Why is it that it was when Sanusi became recalcitrant loud that forensic investigation came up. Why did she not think about this prior to this very day? Probably “porcess”! Process my foot!

    Yet, the SM suffered a kind of dereliction of duties by asking the Finance Ministry of our madam Iweala to set up a forensic committee to investigate the NNPC/PPPRC claims. That was sordid and unacceptable, and should be forthwith reversed. How do you ask an interested party to adjudicate on its own behalf; or to critically investigate itself. As those lawyer will say: nemo potest in causa sua -no one can be a judge in his/her own cause. By the revelation as it is now it is tantamount to asking madam Okonjo Iweala to be self-critical of a cause she has valiantly defended. Her ministry never wanted this to come to light at all.

    Okonlo Iweala was not the one that raised the alarm- it was the CBN via Lamido Sanusi. And when it was raised before this time she never agreed that anything was amiss- this is very implicational, at least it reveals that she is sleepy on her watch of the prime source of the Nigerian economic sustenance. Invariably, she had compromised herself and the ministry she acts as its minister for not being forthcoming, proactive and sensitive to the issue – excuse me, we are talking of $20 biliion dollars here and not a ten naira issue. How could $6 billions in dollars be paid to any establishment just like that (and with obvious tell tale circumstances) and nothing was ever mentioned.

    Two of those billions can easily settle the whole of infrastructural facilities brouhaha that kept the nation’s public universities closed for six months a la ASSUU-strike, and with some changes remaining. It is my unlearned belief that we do not need a whole fifteen billion dollars to fix most important of our roads; even if we want to turn them into autobahn.

    The SM should reverse itself and make provision for the commissioning of an independent, arm’s-length establishment to do the forensic investigation- even if it means engaging outside, foreign help because, you can never absolutely trust Nigerian-ness in the context of setting up this independent commission, particularly when $20 billions dollars is the issue: Nigerians get easily compromised when big money talks. Madam Okonjo Iweala should and must not be involved. What had transpired before us already tells a volume on what will happen if she were to be allowed to set up the forensic bureau to investigate NNPC/PPPRC. Something should be done quickly to prevent madam Okonjo Iweala’s ministry from setting up the investigative bureau- we know the answer already if she were to do it: Sanusi never knew what he was saying and there was no money missing, both NNPC and PPPRC were right from the start. Indeed, the kerosene subsidy was alive and well- as you should it was never gazetted.

    Madam Alison-Madueke is a very funny character, and I am sorry to say that she is shameless and unrepentant and very clueless about the issue and its holistic ramifications. Billions have been disappearing under her watch at the petroleum ministry before this time- Nigerians should remember Nuhu Ribadu’s dead-at-birth report, which scathed madam Deziani Alison-Madueke in no unambiguous terms. Her defence and claim to the new rotten issue was that she was not around when the directive over the kerosene was put across; and since it was never gazetted it had no force of law. May we ask her how many times she puts into writing everything she asks her subordinates to do for her and they refuse to do it because such madam-demands are not put in writing. Besides, her claim needs to be properly investigated. If indeed Sanusi knew about the directive, and madam Alison-Madueke also knew about it and they are both not in the same public establishments, it goes without saying that something concrete and positive was done to effect the stoppage of subsidy on the kerosene- which has become a wantonly leaking pipe to wreck the nation’s economy.
    Another thing, from where did Abiodun Ibukunle of the PPPRC get the information he passed to malam Lamido Sanusi, the CBN’s governor, concerning the stoppage of subsidy on kerosene? What was the context of the communication between them? And what was the objective of that communication?

    It is not illogical to presume that Mr. Ibikunle as the then Executive-Sectary of PPPRC intended to act on the so called un-gazetted directive in the context of the financial relationship between the CBN and the PPPRC. Yet, the same PPPRC- though not of Mr. Ibikunle now, since he left the establishment- got wise overnight (and probably because Yar-Adua is not around to bite for disrespecting his order) and told itself that there was no gazette and it could continue to waste the scarce resource of the nation through subsidy racketeering.

    We all need to know who really it was that flouted the presidential directive on kerosene subsidy. Sanusi had earlier informed the nation that such subsidy on kerosene was stopped during the late Yar’ Adua’s stewardship. Precisely, he said that was 2009, and, yet, the stealing of billions continued unabated in the name of subsidy until the present- no wonder Nigeria continues to borrow and ailing economically in the midst of petro-dollars windfalls and windfalls. And PPPRC – with the ready, eager and possible connivance of the NNPC, the Alison-Madueke’s ministry and the ministry of Finance (inclusive of our World Bank trained Okonjo Iweala)- has persistently reversed a clear directive because Nigerians needed to be saved from paying pricey prices for kerosene. Are we really buying kerosene at the subsidized price? When is the last time a common Nigerian buys a litre of kerosene for forty or fifty naira as the subsidized price for the product? Let’s not fool ourselves there is nothing like paying forty naira at any pump for the product. And there is a great doubt that the kerosene costs as much as these fraudulent and unsavory cabal is claiming. We all know what they do- running in many empty ships into the jetties as containing kerosene and be paid in billions with nothing delivered- and how they cover their track- fraudulent, padding and abracadabra-ing of invoices. Yei! We are dead in the hands of these deep-hole-eyed cabal.

    Certainly with all so far revealed we know where the truth is, and who is telling it; and who is hiding it; and who is trying to confuse us by claiming that a carpenter may and shall not poke his nose into the business of nails or planks. Bull shit! Seriously, some of them need to be in jail and/or – I am exceedingly sorry for this – be tied to the stake and shot through the eyes and be wasted. Not a single one of them has a clue on what looting and wasting the Nigeria’s coffers is doing to the totality of the well-being of the nation and the psycho-socio-economic integrity of every common Nigerian.

    The nation has teeming millions of qualified but jobless professionals and artisans; educational institutions are shockingly without basic infrastructural facilities; no standard public hospitals; public roads are death traps and not worthy to be even called safe footpaths; underdevelopment has become the central narrative of our economic story; rapacious ravage of robbery, hooliganism, extra-legal killings and distasteful socio-economic conditions are our daily torment. Yet, they spend lavishly and live their lives much better and larger than wealthiest of kings in the midst of the rampaging privation and misery of their very own kith and kin- the common Nigerians. They have become absolutely thick-skinned to our complaints and upbraiding and they instead grow fat and fatter in wanton avarice. Their continued existence means only one thing for us: perpetual privation, starvation and ignoble, horrible deaths and burials. Nigerians save Nigeria.

  • Asunny Adebowale.

    I believe that mallam Sanusi the CBN governor is working with the opposition, and if he wants to talk of corruption, he should first of all sanitise the corruption going on in CBN. Recently, he
    sent unqualified mallams to assume positions at the Nigerian Minting and Printing. The people who don’t know anything about what is going on there and are not even qualified. He should cleanse himself first, before coming to talk about the excess missing fund.

  • Ayodele Samuel

    If Sanusi is talking about missing excess crude oil fund, is he not part of the government? Shame on him, because if he can set double standard; then he is not worth to be the central bank governor or even assume the position of leadership. I’m sure that he is also part of those trying to pull this government down to get power to the hands of opposition.

    • OkoAbeni

      Ni otito ati ododo, ti a ba woo daradara, Ogun Idile nd da o l’amu. Ti ko ba je bee iwo oni maa fi akoko re sofo lori ero alantakun lati maa gbe se’hin awon obayeje. Ise Gomina Ile ifowo si apapo ni ki o se abo fun aje orile ede Naijiria, ki o so ohun ti oju re ba ri fun gbogbo mutu muwa, ki o si se otito. Awon eda bi ti re ko ko ki orile ede yi daru tabi ko baje ju ba yi lo, ti o se pataki si yin ni ipo ati agbara ti e le maa fi je awon mekunnu ni iya. Ani owo sonu, iwo ug so pe egbe alatako ni Sanusi ng sise fun. Ati PDP, APC, LP pelu gbogbo egbe oselu ti o ku, gbogbo yin o ni se anfani, e o si ni ri alaaafia afi ti e ba ja’wo ninu iwa imodaru, jegudu jera. Gbogbo awon oloorun.

  • kola aluko

    Kola Aluko (born 20 October 1969, in Lagos, Nigeria) is a Nigerian energy business magnate with further interests in African infrastructure development and aviation. Based in Nigeria, Aluko is the Co-Chief Officer and an Executive Director of Atlantic Energy, an indigenous, private upstream oil and gas company. A key shareholder in Atlantic Energy, Kola Aluko is also a founder and shareholder of Seven Energy. Both companies exclusively focus on independent exploration and production (‘E&P”) participation in Nigeria

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_Aluko