• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Reps to probe alleged N20bn theft by NNPC Staff

Reps to probe $11bn P&ID contract scam

The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the alleged theft of 20 billion by staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).

The House therefore, set up an ad-hoc Committee chaired by Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) and six others to carry out the investigation and report back within four weeks for further legislative action

The resolution was sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Ibrahim Kawu, deputy chairman House committee on banking and currency.

Moving to the motion at plenary Thursday, Kawu said the constitution empowers the National Assembly to conduct investigations into the activities of any authority executing or administering laws peace, order and good governance of the federation.

He said that staff of the Nigerian NNPCL are reported to have diverted the over N20 billion in the guise of consultancy fees paid to its consultants; Messres Safaya.

The lawmaker said the House is informed that the said over twenty billion naira diverted by staff of the NNPC is part of monies meant for payment of taxes to State Governments.

Kawu expressed concern that if no action is taken by the parliament to nip this unwholesome practice in the bud, it will negatively affect the fortune of the nation as well as deprive State governments of access to revenue.

Similarly, the House resolved to investigate the failure and inability of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to provide wide spread availability and usage of mobile telecommunications networks services through out the country in spite of availability of Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF).

It set up an ad-hoc committee chaired by Bamidele Salam (PDP, Osun) to carry out the investigation which would cover total accruals into and the utilisation of USPF by NCC since inception of the fund.

This was sequel to the amendment of a motion moved by Sergiu Ogun (PDP, Edo) at plenary on Thursday.

Moving the motion Ogun said in Section 4 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2004, the NCC is saddled with the responsibility of facilitating investments in and entry into the Nigerian market for provision and supply of communication
services, equipment and facilities.

“Cognizant of the fact that section 112(1) of the Act, gives the NCC the power to consider, design and
determine a system which shall promote the widespread availability and usage of network services
throughout Nigeria by encouraging the installation of network facilities and the provision of network
services to institutions in the unserved and underserved areas of the country, known as the Universal Service Provision (USP).

“Also cognizant that a community reading of the provisions of sections 114 and 118 of the Nigerian Communications Act shows that the structure, governance, administration and control of the Universal
Service Provision Fund (USPF) shall be as determined (or domiciled in) the NCC.

“Aware that in the wake of the rapid expansions of the Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM)
in Nigeria, most of the mobile telecommunication network operators were reluctant to move to the rural areas owing to the business considerations.

“Also aware that the Nigerian Communications Act, Cap N97, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, empowers the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to receive two and half percent (2.5%) of the annual turnover of the mobile telecommunication network operators as annual license renewal fee.

“Further aware that the NCC is expected to utilize the funds generated from the contributions of mobile telecommunication network operators, for implementing
Universal Access Strategy and programme in accordance with Federal Government’s policy thereon (as enshrined in section 4 of the Act),” he said.

According to the lawmaker, NCC on its own, decided to contribute 40% of the fund generated from the 2.5% annual turnover from mobile telecommunication network operators tanslating to 1% of the annual turnover of the operators to the USPF, a practice common throughout Africa.