The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) on Friday dismissed as “misleading” reports the Nigeria police recovered about $470.5 million and N8 billion of its (NNPC) funds hidden in commercial banks in the country.
On Thursday, the Force announced the recovered funds belonged to NNPC Brass LNG.
The police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, said the monies were unremitted revenues by the NNPC to the Treasury Single Account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in violation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that all government monies to be domiciled in the TSA.
Mr Moshood attributed the recoveries to the activities of a special units, including IGP Monitoring Unit, Special Investigation Panel (SIP) and Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism, created by the Inspector General Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris to handle high profile cases involving terrorism, cyber and high-tech crimes.
“As a result of these efforts, the Nigeria Police Force recovered the following monetary and non-monetary assets for the Federal Government,” the police spokesperson said.
“The sum of Four Hundred and Seventy Million, Five Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eighty-Nine US Dollars and Ten Cent ($470,519,889.10) belonging to NNPC Brass/LNG Investment hidden in some commercial banks after the directives of the Federal Government on TSA.
“The sum of Eight Billion, Eight Hundred and Seven Million, Two Hundred and Sixty Four Thousand, Eight Hundred and Thirty-Four Naira, Ninety-Six Kobo (NGN8,807,264,834.96) monies belonging to NNPC Brass/LNG Investment, that was not remitted to TSA Account of the Federal Government was also recovered,” he said.
However, in his reaction on Friday, the NNPC through its spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, dismissed the reports.
Although Mr Ughamadu confirmed some commercial banks with the corporation’s monies were yet to complete the remittance of the dollar deposits to the TSA, he denied any funds were ‘hidden’ in any commercial bank.
Apart from the presidency and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), the NNPC spokesperson said the CBN was also fully aware of the unremitted funds, and have been receiving periodic status reports on their balances.
Following the directive from the President on August 9, 2015 for government ministries, departments and agencies to transfer all monies to the TSA account at the CBN, Mr Ughamadu said the corporation had made a report to the Presidency on the challenges it was facing.
Mr Ughamadu said the challenges the NNPC reported included failure of some commercial banks to complete the transfer of dollar deposits.
Consequently, he said a presidential directive was issued for the CBN to ensure the funds were completely transferred to the Corporation’s TSA dollars account at the CBN.
He said most of the commercial banks have since complied with the directive ”including the reported $470.5 million”, to the Corporation’s TSA dollars account.
On the alleged recovery of another N8 billion, the NNPC denied knowledge of any change in the subsisting presidential directive that all dollar balances must be transferred to NNPC’s CBN TSA dollar accounts.
Besides, Mr Ughamadu said no such funds as reported by the Police have been deposited in the Corporation’s CBN TSA account.
“Consequently, NNPC’s record of the dollar funds still yet to be transferred by a few commercial banks cannot reflect the said recovery,” the spokesperson said.
While the CBN carries out the Presidential directive to ensure complete transfer of dollar funds to the NNPC’s CBN TSA account, Mr Ughamadu said NNPC would resist every attempt to subject these funds to five per cent whistle blowing fees.
He described any contemplation of any such act as unreasonable and waste of public funds, which have been in the full view of government all along.
“As an entity with fiduciary responsibility to the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, NNPC’s commitment to transparency and accountability remains unwavering,” Mr Ughamadu said.