The joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives committees on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is to investigate 17 international oil companies (IOCs) including the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG), Shell Petroleum and Conoil over their alleged indebtedness to the Niger Delta Development Commission to tunes of several trillions Naira.
According to a member of the Joint Committee, other oil firms to be investigated over the debt profile are Shebah Express Petroleum, Atlas Petroleum, Allied Energy, Frontier Oil, Seven Energy Limited, Belma Oil Producing Limited, AITECO Exploration and Production, Dubrin Oil and Continental Oil and Gas.
Also to be investigated are Enageed Resources Limited, New Cross exploration and Production, Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company and Prime Exploration and Production Company.
The Co-chairman of the joint committee and House of Representatives committee chairman on NDDC, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (APC, Ondo) who confirmed this to newsmen in Abuja explained that as part of the investigation, the minister of finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris and Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine would also appear before the joint committee to give evidences on the debt profile of the Commission.
According to the lawmaker, “records have shown that the affected oil companies jointly owning the NDDC N72 billion and $73 million respectively adding that the federal government was also owing to the agency a whopping N1.2 trillion.
According to the co-chairman, “these companies we are investigating are owing to the NDDC huge sums of money, which when remitted to it would improve the fortunes of the people of the Niger Delta area. By the records we have, a company like Shell Petroleum Development Company is said to owing more than N54.9 billion
“We also have it on good authority that Pan Ocean is owing as much as $46.6 million, while Allied Energy is indebted to the tune of $43 million, and Shebah Express Petroleum owes as much as $23.8 million and then Atlas Petroleum is owing $22 million”.
Hon. Tunji-Ojo further revealed that “the 9th National Assembly cannot afford to sit and watch oil companies deny the NDDC of its statutory revenue from firms operating in the country.
The 8th National Assembly did a technical audit of the NDDC and the findings were very revealing and we must recover these monies. And it is even believed that some of these oil companies do not give the actual annual budget
“Some of them are alleged to be tampering with their annual budgets and in fact, some are said to be paying the actual expenditure or stop-gap whereas as the law provides that it should be the annual budget.
“Even the one that they were supposed to pay, they never paid. That is why the NDDC consultants have been going after them yet they have refused to pay.
We have mandated the Central Bank of Nigeria to send the money wrongly credited to the NPA, to the rightful owners, that is the NDDC”.
Hon Tunji-Ojo while insisting that all the affected companies must appear before the joint committee to clear their names., said, “we are expecting the IOCs and other oil companies to come by Wednesday to tell Nigerians why they have blatantly refused to abide by the laws of the nation
” I can assure you, we will recover every dime due to the NDDC”.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had already ordered that forensic audit should be carried out on the Commission to determine its dents profile.