15 October 2014, Abuja – The House of Representatives said on Tuesday that it had resolved to conduct a detailed probe of the over $10bn in revenues that the country allegedly lost to the various mergers and acquisitions in the oil and gas industry dating back to 1998.
The “full-scale investigation” is to be conducted by the House’s Joint Committee on Finance/Justice.
The Chairman of the Committee on Justice, Mr. Ali Ahmad, said on Tuesday that such mergers and acquisitions usually came with “statutory payments” made to the country, adding that in Nigeria’s case, oil majors simply sat on what was due to the country.
He added that the committee began preliminary investigation in September 2013 and was now ready to go “all out for a full blast public hearing.”
Ahmad disclosed how some influential forces had tried to pre-empt the work of the joint committee by going to the public with claims that it had already made recommendations.
He added that the detailed investigation would identify the defaulting oil majors and come up with findings on the exact amount each was withholding from the Federal Government.
The lawmaker explained further, “Because of this wrong development, we are compelled to set the record straight and give members of the public and stakeholders the true update on the investigative hearing.
“Our mandate is to determine whether these companies paid similar dues in their home countries and whether and why they paid or did not pay amounts due to Nigeria. We are also to determine whether there was complicity from any officials of the concerned regulatory agencies and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.”
He added, “These efforts will form the basis of our recommendation to the whole House. Our recommendation shall be confidential until submitted to the whole House and it is only then that the public may have access to it.
“We also use this opportunity to inform the general public that since time is not on our side, we have planned to organise, in a matter of days, a full public hearing on the matter, where all the stakeholders and members of the public shall be given the opportunity to participate.”
– The Punch