By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO, Abuja –
The House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating $17 billion allegedly missing from undeclared crude and Liquefied Natural Gas exports between 2011 and 2014 has threatened to issue a warrant of arrest against the director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr Mordecai Baba Ladan.
The committee alleged that DPR was aware of the huge fraud perpetrated on royalty revenue within the period under review but decided to conceal the information.
It observed that even though DPR, in 2011, opened a domiciliary account titled, JP Morgan Chace, it still operates a secret account with Federal Reserve Bank, New York.
Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Hon Namdas Abdulrazak, at the weekend insisted that Ladan must appear before the committee in person or the committee will be forced to issue a warrant of arrest.
“He will always send junior officers to represent him before the committee. Sometimes he will send a statistician and these officials are not competent enough to respond to certain questions”, Namdas said.
Specifically, the committee is seeking to reconcile figures contained in the report of royalty payment between 2011 and 2014.
Between January and December 2011, a total sum of $70, 647,858 was under-declared and allegedly diverted, while a total sum of $727, 087, 784 was under-declared and allegedly diverted between January and December 2012.
However, the committee members were disappointed when DPR manager in charge of Training, Mrs. Ajayi Comfort and an assistant director, Adeoye Johnson Makanju, who represented Ladan could not speak on documents the agency submitted to the committee.
A mild drama ensued when the DPR officials could not explain why oil royalties are being paid into two different accounts.
Namdas wondered why DPR would open a domiciliary account titled, JP Morgan Chace, and still operate a secret account with Federal Reserve Bank in New York.
Also, the DPR representatives could not explain why $10, 279, 200 was allegedly received from Moni Pulo in April 2011 but only $3, 425, 257.65 was remitted to the federation account.
According to the officials, DPR doesn’t understand the figures as contained in its record by the CBN.
Ajayi said, “Like the $10.279m you referred to, we don’t know anything about it. It is the $3.428 that was paid into our account and that is what we issued receipt for.
“This total column is not representing what a company is supposed to pay as per royalty. The total column is managed by the CBN and we have at different times approached the CBN on the meaning of the column on our CBN statement. They told us that it is for their internal working. So, it is only the CBN that can explain it”.
Consequently, Namdas discontinued the investigative hearing, saying representatives of DPR are not competent to respond to the committee’s inquiries.
“Gentlemen, from what I have before me, if we cannot be able to resolve the issue of April 2011, I cannot see how we can resolve others payments in 2011. We still have conflicting figures in the records of 2012, 2013 and 2014,” he stated.
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