House probe: NNPC did not take N844.9billion from CBN – Ajuonuma

22 April 2012, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC Yesterday picked holes in the House Committee probe report on subsidy payment which had earlier indicted it of wrong doing and financial malfeasance in the petroleum products subsidy scheme.

In a statement circulated to Journalists over the weekend, the Group General Manager Group Public Affairs Division of the Corporation, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma stated that contrary to the allegations contained in the said probe report which accused NNPC of withdrawing from two different sources simultaneously to recover its subsidy claims, the Corporation at no time made such double withdrawals.

“Such a claim is totally unfounded and absurd. We challenge both the CBN and Ad Hoc Committee to provide evidence that such payments as alleged were made to NNPC. They must show authorisation for the payments as well as breakdown of the amount, purpose for the payments, beneficiary accounts in which such payments were made and the utilisation of such payments,” he said.

The NNPC Spokesman explained that rather than collecting such payments from CBN as alleged, the NNPC applied such subsidy approvals as credit due to the Corporation towards the cost of its domestic crude allocation.

“For the purposes of clarity subsidy payments to NNPC is not based on cash remittance. The mechanics of subsidy recovery by NNPC is not fund based but by way of deduction from crude cost due. As a matter of fact from the commencement of the subsidy regime there was never a time when CBN paid any money to NNPC in respect of subsidy claim.”

Dr. Ajuonuma lamented that despite the fact that all necessary documents and information were given to the Probe Committee they could still make this kind of unfounded allegation against the Corporation.

“For instance, NNPC presented to PPPPRA approvals for 2011 totalling N981 billion out of which only N844.9 billion has been credited to NNPC. But surprisingly the Committee claimed that PPPRA approved only N504 billion and that the balance was excess payment to NNPC. What logic.”

The NNPC insisted that the Committee seems not to be sure of its action as its intention was really not to clarify the subsidy payments but more interested in maligning and damaging the reputation of the Corporation as well as other key players of the industry.

He also picked holes in the Committee’s query of NNPC deduction of subsidy payment as a first line charge.

“The basis for the deduction of both cash calls for Joint Venture operations and NNPC’S subsidy payments as a first line charge on the income of the Federal Government is statutory and founded on the Appropriation Act which was passed by the National Assembly. Under the said Appropriation Act, certain budgetary items including subsidy payments to the NNPC are listed as first line charges on the income of the Federation,” he noted.

“The Committee accepted the Cash call as first line charge yet alleged that the subsidy aspect was illegal.”

“It is clear that the tone of the Committee’s report is not only damaging to the Corporation but to the entire nation. At this stage it is pertinent to ask the question, whose interest is this Committee serving?” He querried.

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