By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO, Abuja
Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, Account General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Babatunde Fowler will today appear before the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the $17 billion stolen through undeclared crude oil and liquefied natural gas.
Also, the group managing director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baro and chief executives of over 40 international oil companies are expected to explain their roles in the sale of crude before the committee.
Chairman of the committee, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, noted that the International Oil Companies involved had provided required documents to the committee, but said thorough investigation requires oral testimonies from concerned parties.
The committee had recently summoned Chief Executive Officers of First Bank, Access Bank and Standard Chartered Bank, to explain their explain their roles in the undeclared $17bn proceed from sale of crude oil.
The ongoing investigation revealed that some international oil companies remitted billions of dollars into Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) through the commercial banks without proper records.
The payments were made into the PPT account of the Central Bank of Nigeria, but available records did not show that the billions are recorded for the same purpose.
The committee also revealed that most of the payments were not found in the records of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) thereby suggesting that the oil companies did not pay PPT during the period under review.
Namdas during the continued investigate hearing stated that it was surprising to discover that the oil companies made payments amounting to billions of dollars without proper identification of what the payment stands for.
“We expect that if you are into oil and gas for a period of time, and you made some payment, when you are shown the document, you should be able to identify what the payment were meant for. Although, some confirmed that the payment came from them, but they don’t know what it stands for. That is why we are investigating, for example, some of them will tell you that they paid for petroleum profit tax, and FIRS will say from their own records, they have not paid. W have cause to even show them the documents provided to us by FIRS, the companies could also not produce the assessment notice given to them,” he said.
The committee also insisted that Emefiele must appear before the committee in person to clarity issues.
“We have sent two different letters to the CBN, and the bank has provided two conflicting responses to our inquiry. In response to the first letter, the apex bank pleaded for time due to the volume of documents required, but in response to the second letter, the indicated that it has no record of undeclared crude,” Namdas stated.