• Monday, June 17, 2024
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Reps direct NNPC to produce 17 subsidiaries indicted by audit reports

Competition will aid efficiency, drop petrol prices- Kyari

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts on Tuesday directed Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to produce before it, the leadership of the company’s 17 subsidiaries indicted by the report of the Auditor General for the Federation over financial infractions between 2014 and 2019.

Oluwole Oke, Chairman of the Committee who gave the directive at the resumed investigative hearing on the report of the Auditor General, said the action of the NNPC in shielding its subsidiaries amounted to hiding something from the over 200 million Nigerians who owned the companies.

But Kyari said the NNPC was not hiding anything from Nigerians and dismissed earlier media reports that about 107 million barrels of crude oil could not be accounted for in 2018.

Oke said the House was shying away from invoking the provisions of the constitution to issue a warrant of arrest on the leadership of the subsidiaries who have refused to appear before parliament to answer questions arising from the AuGF report.

He told Kyari that: “with due respect, the parliament differs with you because we are guided by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Legislative Houses Privileges Act and our rules.

“Yes, you have submitted a consolidated account. But the Auditor General who submitted his report to us audited, conducted audit pursuant to section 85 of the constitution and audited the account of these subsidiaries, published the report and submitted the same to the parliament.

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“The report specifically mentioned these subsidiaries and having done so, the parliament is duty bound to take the queries and observations as contained in the report. Aside this, parliament can also pursuant to the provisions of the constitution invite anybody to give evidence before it.

“If a particular agency under your leadership is mentioned, we cannot shave their head in their absence. They have to be here. Yes, you have rendered your account which is before us. But these subsidiaries must appear before this parliament to answer the queries raised by the Auditor General for the Federation. They have to answer their father’s name.

“With due respect, the NNPC is not in a position to dictate to parliament how it conducts its business. We have to change the impression of Nigerians about NNPC. We have listen to the comments of some governors about NNPC and we must change the narration by telling Nigerians that NNPC operates transparently.

“Except and except you have something to hide, then you can continue to shield these subsidiaries. But they must appear before Nigerians and tell them about the funds in their kitty. They have to come here and answer the queries about the abnormalities the Auditor general observed in their operations. This is our position.

“We don’t want to go through the process of invoking the necessary laws by issuing a warrant of arrest. We believe that we can jaw jaw, that we can discuss because we are all serving Nigerians.

“These companies are your subsidiaries and if we are to go by your assertion that they are registered on their own under CAMA, then it further attest to the fact that they have to appear here by themselves. That is not even the issue, but that the Auditor General for the Federation specifically listed the names of these companies. That is our position. So, take a date when you are bringing them.

“Your purpose of coming today is to produce these subsidiaries because you wrote that these agencies are under you. That was why we asked you to bring the leadership of these subsidiaries. That is what we expected today”.

In his contribution, Chinyere Igwe (PDP, Rivers) said by the admittance of the GMD, he cannot legally stand in for the subsidiaries since he said they were registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act and operating as individual companies.

Igwe said: “by the clarification of the GMD’s statement that these companies are full registered, it means that they are entities of their own by provision of the CAC act. As a result of that, the GMD is not totally liable. I therefore ask that the GMD allow them to stand on their own because he cannot speak for them.

“Any society that does not have laws, there will be anarchy and lawlessness, with the big killing the small just like we have right now with Russia killing Ukraine. Based on that, the constitution is the ground norm on which all Nigerians are relating. That is what gave rise to NNPC, parliament, Auditor General.

“By implication, the parliament did not make the Auditor General’s report. But these companies owned by Nigerians have refused to do what they are supposed to do. We have not asked you to come and tell us how many barrels of crude were lifted or how many of that was stolen or who has stolen them.

“There are silent questions raised by the Auditor General which they must tell us. We are not doing anything out of the ordinary, but just being guided by the ground norms in line with the constitution.”

Kyari stated that NNPC has nothing to hide from Nigerians and in view of that, it has published the same audited account that the parliament has for the citizens to see, read and comment on.

“Those accounts are a complete reflection of all our transactions, including our subsidiary companies. So, we are hiding nothing from Nigerians.

“I agree with you that we can be more transparent. Can we do something different from this? Absolutely yes. Are we doing enough? Yes, we are doing more than enough. No National oil company in this world publishes its audited statement of account. There is no company that publishes its monthly report as we do.

“Therefore, I expect that you should congratulate us that we are doing more than expectations in terms of transparency and accountability. We owe this to Nigerians because it is their company owned by over 200 million Nigerians. We are accountable to them and we must be transparent by every means possible.

“But as we do this, we must also recognize that we are running a business on their behalf and this business has rules and responsibilities and part of it is to have a report of this nature which the Auditor General endorses by law for them to deliver on,” he said.