The House of Representatives has accused the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, of refusing to respond to an audit query issued against the corporation over alleged illegal withdrawals from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited’s Dividends Account, totalling of $20.30bn.

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The Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr Wole Oke, disclosed that the NNPC GMD and relevant ministries, departments and agencies needed to appear before it to explain the withdrawals.

The office of the Auditor General of the Federation had issued a query on the funds to the committee, following which the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission further indicted the NNPC in its response to the lawmakers.

The details of the funds were contained in a document filed by the RMAFC to the committee, asking the lawmakers to “investigate the illegal withdrawals from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Dividends Account by the management of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.”

The Chairman of RMAFC, Elias Mbam, stated that the commission “does not support any diversion of revenue that should accrue to the Federation Account for whatever reason, as the practice is illegal and conflict with Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

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“The NNPC or any other agency does not have the powers under the law to withdraw money from the NLNG Dividend Account for any other purpose outside remitting it into the Federation Account.”

According to the document, out of a total sum of $21.69bn revenue that accrued to the NLNG dividend account between 1999 and 2020, the NNPC withdrew a total sum of $20.3bn, leaving a balance of $1.38bn as of June 30, 2020.

The RMAFC also stated that the sum of $100bn was generated by NLNG in sales revenue since inception.

It said, “The company also has paid over $18bn as dividends through the NNPC and $6.1bn as Company Income Tax through the Federal Inland Revenue Service.”

The company also said that over $15bn had been expended by NLNG for the purchase of feedstock gas for its operations, it added.