The Senate on Tuesday begun an investigation into the diversion of $1.05bn from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, dividend to augment the shortfalls between the landing cost and pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol.
Senate president Bukola Saraki had vowed to investigate the alleged diversion, after Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, said the funds were used to avert a crisis in the petroleum sector.
A related investigation into a $3.5 billion “subsidy recovery fund” said to be managed by the NNPC GMD and the corporation’s finance director is currently ongoing.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Gas), Senator Bassey Akpan, representing Akwa Ibom North-east, raised a point of order at the plenary on Tuesday to urge the lawmakers to probe the withdrawal and payments.
Akpan came under Orders 43 & 95 to draw the attention of the Senate to various emails and complaints from the general public on the unauthorized withdrawal of $3.5 billion by NNPC from the NLNG Account.
“I ask that the Senate Committee on Gas immediately investigate this matter,” he demanded
President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, ruled that the committee should go ahead with the probe.
The Senate had set up an ad hoc committee chaired by the Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, to investigate an alleged $3.5bn account kept by NNPC for petrol subsidy payment.
Baru had, while appearing before the committee last week, said NNPC had only spent $1.05bn from the NLNG dividend account to defray the cost of “under-recovery” in the importation of fuel.
Dividends from the NLNG should be shared by all tiers of government and paid into federal government’s consolidated revenue account.