The Senate Committee on Gas Resources, yesterday, uncovered fresh multiple illegal withdrawals from the dividend accounts of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The fresh illegal withdrawals was about $1 billion, is however, different from the $1.05 billion the Group Managing Director of (NNPC), Maikanti Baru admitted earlier when he appeared before the 15-member Senate ad hoc Committee on alleged $3.5 billion subsidy under recovery fund three weeks ago.

The unraveling of the fresh illegal withdrawals by the NNPC through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was as a result of the ongoing probe by the Gas committee on the $1.05bn, the NNPC GMD said was withdrawn to bridge the gap of shortfalls in differentials between landing cost of imported fuel and the pump price of the product in the country. Baru had claimed that the NNPC was suffering heavy losses on landing cost of imported fuel, which he put at N185 per liter while the government regulated pump price is N145.

The Senate had mandated the Committee headed by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (PDP Akwa Ibom North East), two weeks ago to probe the $1.05 billion NNPC with drew from the account in April this year without authorisation by the National Assembly. The Gas Committee, based on information at its disposal, ordered the NNPC and the CBN to submit documents on withdrawals made from the NLNG dividends account within the last two years.

Accordingly, while scrutinising the NLNG account documents presented to it yesterday by the Chief Operating Officer (COO) Finance of the CBN, Babatunde Adeniran, the committee observed series of cash debiting from the account from November 2016 to June this year totalling $2.201 billion.

The breakdown of the withdrawals not supported by required approving documents as observed by the committee are $86.546,526 million withdrawn from the account on the 22nd of November 2016 allegedly being payment on Paris Club loans for the state governors, $1.05 bn withdrawn on the 17th of April 2018 as National Fuel Support Fund. Others are $650 million withdrawn from the account on the 7th of June this year for offsetting of Joint Venture Cash Call by NNPC, which ordinarily supposed to be budget item payment.

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