NNPC denies illegal withdrawal of $21bn NLNG funds

Mele Kyari NNPC GMD

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says the withdrawal of over $21billion from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dividends account was legal.

NNPC GMD Mele Kyari stated this on Thursday at an investigative hearing of the Wole Oke-led Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives.

Kyari was represented by the chief financial officer of the corporation Umar Ajiya.

He said NNPC pulled out the sum from the dividends account on the authorisation of the Federal Government as represented by the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and the NNPC.

He further said proceeds from the dividends account were the Federal Government’s share of revenues from oil shared between the federal and other tiers of government.

“All withdrawals (from NLNG dividends fund) were based on approved mandates of the relevant authorities. As far as NNPC is concerned, investments in NLNG were done on behalf of the Federal Government. I was the treasurer of NLNG so I was aware of the Federal Government’s investment in the project,” Kyari said.

“The same matter came at the FEC (Federal Executive Council) and was referred to a committee headed by the governor of Kaduna State, but the fact is that the Federal Government, through the NNPC, is the true owner of the investment (the sum withdrawn). It is accrued to the Federal Government, not the federation account.”

The House Committee chairman then resolved to summon the Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmad, CBN governor Godwin Emefiele and the Accountant General of the Federation Ahmed Idris to clarify claims by Kyari on the utilisation of the NLNG fund.