NNPC, Reps bicker over unaudited accounts

The House of Representatives has frowned at the refusal of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiaries to honour the invitation of the parliament.

The House said it had been writing to the corporation and its subsidiaries for their alleged refusal to render audited accounts to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) from 2014 to 2018 in breach of extant financial regulations.

The House Committee on Public Accounts threatened to invoke relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to compel the corporation’s Group Managing Director Mele Kyari and heads of 17 subsidiary subsidiaries to respond to various invitation letters to them.

The agencies are: Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) Limited; Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company; Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) Limited; Duke Oil Company Inc.; West Africa Gas Limited; Nidas Marine Limited; Hyson (Nigeria) Limited and Nigerian Gas Company.

They also include National Engineering and Technical Company; National Petroleum Exchange; NNPC Pension Limited; Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company; Port Harcourt Refining Company; NNPC Retail Limited; Integrated Data Services Limited; National Petroleum Investment & Management Services (NAPIMS) and Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

The NNPC and its subsidiaries have reportedly refused to appear before the House committee in violation of the extant laws and the House resolution directing its Public Accounts Committee to investigate refusal of non-treasury funded agencies to render their audited accounts to the OAuGF, as required by law.

The subsidiaries have refused to honour the invitation, asking the committee to deal with the NNPC instead of inviting them to render individual accounts.

The lawmakers averred that the refusal followed directive from the NNPC, which allegedly directed the heads of its 17 subsidiaries not to honour the invitation sent to them, in breach of extant legislations and provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

In a letter, dated December 20, 2019, addressed to the NNPC Group Managing Director, the House informed the corporation and its subsidiaries that during its plenary on December 10, 2019, the House mandated the committee to conduct an in-depth investigative hearing on the deliberate and reckless refusal of non-treasury funded agencies of government to be audited by the OAuGF for the period under review, with the view to ensuring compliance with the provisions of the law.

The committee wrote a second letter, dated December 24, 2019, and signed by its Chairman, Wole Oke,  and a third letter, dated January 10, 2020 and addressed separately to the NNPC Group Managing Director and heads of the 17 subsidiaries.

It invited them to appearance before the Public Accounts Committee on January 30, 2020, at 10 a.m.

Although the corporation and its subsidiaries responded to the letters, they did not appear before the committee.

The committee also frowned at the NNPC’s latest letter, dated January 5, 2021, signed by Dr. K. A. Olateru, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division.

The letter urged the committee to direct its enquiries about Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) to the NNPC Group Managing Director.

“We refer to your letter, dated December 7, 2020, to the Managing Director, Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC), on the committee’s constitutional mandate over matters relating to public finance management audit and expenditure and the subsequent resolution of the Honourable House to conduct an in-depth investigative hearing on the refusal of MDAs to render audited accounts to the Auditor General for the examination.

“The Chairman is kindly invited to note that PHRC is a subsidiary company of the NNPC and all budget and audit matters are handled by the corporate headquarters for the NNPC group. Consequently, kindly direct your enquiries as contained in your referenced letter to the Group Managing Director, NNPC.”

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