The House of Representatives on Wednesday directed the Accountant-General of the Federation, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Chevron Nigeria Limited, and other stakeholders to provide it with relevant documents.
The directive is in line with the House’s investigation of Joint Venture (JV) operations, and Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) in the oil and gas sector since 1990, to authenticate the legality of all such transactions.
Abubakar Fulata, chairman of the House ad-hoc committee investigating the structure and accountability of the joint venture businesses and production sharing contracts of the then Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, now Company limited (NNPC), gave the directive at the commencement of the investigation.
Fulata said the investigation will be carried out within the constitutional mandate of the National Assembly as part of its quasi-judicial responsibility to ensure transparency in the conduct of government businesses.
He asked the chief executives of all the invited organisations to endeavour to appear in person with the documents from Friday, warning that the committee will not entertain any memorandum or presentation from any staff other than the heads of the affected organisations.
“The thrust of this assignment shall be to critically examine whether the operations of the joint venture businesses and production sharing contracts between the oil companies involved in these arrangements with the NNPC have been conducted within the ambit of the laws and to determine whether the benefits accruable to the Nigeria state have been fair and reasonable.
Read also: Senate confirms Ariwoola as substantive CJN
“It should be noted that any infraction in the oil and gas business either by the operating companies or individuals within the sector has a corollary effect on the Nigerian economy, therefore, the committee in the conduct of this hearing will not leave any stone unturned as we pledge to act fairly in the best interest of the stakeholders and the Nigerian state, the lawmaker said.
He also summoned Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, and chief executive officers of the oil companies to appear before the committee on Friday to state their positions on the contracts.
Addressing the lawmakers, the representative of the accountant-general of the federation, Onochie Peter said all items on the JVC proceeds are not yet available because they are still waiting for response from the CBN and NNPCL.
Peter, who is the director of audit monitoring, also said the office is not involved in the payments of JVCs transactions, but only receives proceeds.
But interjecting, Fulata said, “The documents we are asking must pass through you. The accountant-general even for record keeping doesn’t have something like this? No wonder we are experiencing these leakages in our revenues, our investment is not tracked.
“We are looking for money left, right and centre. You should be able to get these documents. You should have these records in your system.”