Abuja — The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Monday, exonerated ExxonMobil from any indebtedness to the federation over the renewal of licenses for Oil Mining Leases, OML, 67, 68 and 70.
In a statement in Abuja, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, disclosed that the indebtedness was on the part of the corporation, which had been unable to pay its own share of the fees for the renewal of the licenses.
Kyari, who was speaking while receiving members of Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, also cleared the air on alleged financial breaches in the corporation, stating that the NNPC had nothing to hide as it stood to gain a lot by being transparent in all areas of operation.
Kyari said, “ExxonMobil paid $600m which was their equity contribution of 40 percent of the Joint venture agreement after which NNPC was to pay the remaining 60 percent, but it became unnecessary as it represented the government.
“Ordinarily, NNPC would have contributed the balance of 60 percent of the amount which literally meant government paying monies to itself. There was no need for that.”
On the alleged breach of government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy, Kyari insisted that the NNPC had no secret account, emphasizing that “there is no single account NNPC is operating that is unknown to the Federal Government. Any account(s) outside the TSA platform are partner accounts which we have obtained due approvals from the government,” he noted.
Kyari, who observed that all monies belonging to the corporation were domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, added that the Corporation’s account managers remained the CBN and the Accountant General of the Federation.
Shedding more light on the alleged non-remittances of taxes and royalties by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, NNPC’s upstream arm, he stated that there were outstanding payments which arose as a result of the pillage that occurred before 2015.
He, however, assured the Panel that this administration has made concerted efforts to reconcile every payment due to the Federation on taxes and royalties.
“The only outstanding payment is the $600m and we have a pre-payment plan with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) such that by mid-2020, we will have no money left to be paid”, he noted.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Presidential Panel, Mr. Okoi Obono- Obla said their visit was to seek synergy with the NNPC towards reforming the country and particularly to clear the air on issues relating to the operations of the Corporation.
He expressed the Panel’s satisfaction with NNPC’s frank and honest responses on the issues raised, describing the Corporation as a very important and transparent national institution with a GMD who has a track record of accountability and transparency in his public career.
“The GMD has a reputation for being an apostle of accountability and transparency. I feel very happy that somebody like him is coming out to clarify the key issues. Nigerians have been misled, it behooves on every organization to tell Nigerians the truth to engender transparency in the entire polity,” Obon-Obla declared.