Nigerian House of Representatives summoned the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to explain why N32.5 billion was paid to two companies, GSCL Consulting and Biz Plus, without formal documentation.
The Auditor General for the Federation, the Accountant General for the Federation, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Managing Directors of Exxon Mobil and Nigeria Agip Oil Company were also summoned. At the resumed hearing, the summons was issued by the chairman of the Ad-hoc committee of the House concerning the alleged loss of 48 million barrels of crude oil worth over $2 billion, the Honourable Mark Gbillah.
According to Vanguard, the committee also summoned the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) over $1.67 billion in unremitted funds, as well as the former Attorney General of the Federation, AGF Abubakar Malami (SAN).
According to Gbillah, CBN paid N16.5 billion to each of the two companies on the same day, contrary to Malami’s earlier claim that he was unaware of the transaction. He stated, “Due to the lack of response to committee invitations, summons had to be issued by the House to the Managing Director of Nigeria Agip Oil Company, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, SNEPCO and SPDC, the Auditor General for the Federation, and the Governor of the Central Bank for failing to appear before the House on issues requested by the House, as well as to GSCL Consulting Limited and Bizplus regarding the payment of N16. 5 billion on the same day.”
“Therefore, clerk, please write a letter to the AGF to provide us with the details of the approval for the hiring of the legal team and associated companies to conduct this investigation, as well as provide us with the details of this legal team. “In the letter, you request that the former AGF and former DG of NIMASA provide an update on the investigation’s status, and they will be invited in conjunction with the submission of the report.” Gbillah also criticised Igo Weli, who designated himself as a representative of Shell Petroleum Development Company, for lacking adequate oversight.
Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), who testified before the committee regarding a $1.7 billion judgement sum still outstanding for the Nigerian government to claim from a company found guilty of making false declarations about crude oil taken out of the country, said that the money belonged to the Nigerian people. “There are approximately nine additional cases involving the alleged seizure of Nigerian crude. This is not a figment of our imagination.
There is a formal legal ruling on this matter, and there are pending cases regarding Nigerian crude. I call on the Tinubu administration, relevant stakeholders, and anti-corruption agencies to recognise that Nigerians have been waiting since 2020 for an explanation as to why the $1.7 billion judgement against Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept has not been recovered.
“This is money that belongs to all Nigerians, and we expect it to be accounted for properly,” he stated. The director general of NIMASA subsequently told reporters that the agency was monitoring all court cases. He stated, “In 2013, when the revenue profile was low, the Attorney General’s office directed NIMASA to coordinate two technical teams to source data on the actual lifting of petroleum oil and the final destination point to determine whether there were any discrepancies.
We uncovered inconsistencies and collaborated with the legal team to investigate the findings. The legal team once again discovered ten companies guilty of under-declaration based on the findings. “We filed lawsuits against those corporations. The majority of cases are still in court. We prevailed in one of these cases, and the court ordered that $ 1.7 billion be paid to the government. “NIMASA and the Attorney General’s office continued to monitor the team of attorneys, and in January of this year I requested an update on the judicial cases.
What we’ve discovered is that some cases are on appeal, and the legal team is working on those while continuing to monitor those still in the lower court. “These cases are not filed in Nigeria, but rather in the country where the criminal offences occurred. “The straightforward answer is that these cases are still pending in court, and some have not yet reached the stage of appeal.
The Attorney General’s office and NIMASA are not the only entities with an interest in this matter. “The EFCC is also interested, as I am aware that they are investigating and working to ensure that the companies involved are held accountable,” he said.