The House of Representatives yesterday told the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to produce the leadership of its 17 subsidiaries indicted by the report of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) for alleged financial infractions between 2014 and 2019.
Speaking at the resumed investigative hearing on the report of the AuGF, Chairman of the House Committee on Public Account, Oluwole Oke said the action of the NNPC in shielding its subsidiaries amounted to hiding something from Nigerians.
But NNPC Group Managing Director (GMD) Mele Kyari told the committee that the company was not hiding anything.
Reacting to a statement by the GMD that he would take responsibility for the actions of the subsidiaries, Oke said: “With due respect, the parliament differs with you because we are guided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Legislative Houses Privileges Act and our rules.
“Yes, you have submitted consolidated account. But the Auditor General, who submitted his report on us, conducted an audit pursuant to Section 85 of the Constitution and audited the accounts of these subsidiaries, published the report and submitted same to the parliament.
“The report specifically mentioned these subsidiaries, and having done so, the parliament is duty-bound to take the queries and observations, as contained in the report. Aside this, parliament can also, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, invitee anybody to give evidence before this parliament.
“If a particular agency under your leadership is mentioned, we cannot shave their head in their absence. They have to be here. Yes, you have rendered your account, which is before us. But these subsidiaries must appear before this parliament to answer the queries raised by the AuGF. They have to answer their father’s name.
“With due respect, the NNPC is not in a position to dictate to parliament how it conducts its business. We have to change the impression of Nigerians about the NNPC. We have listened to the comments of some governors about NNPC and we must change the narrative by telling Nigerians that NNPC operates transparently.
“Except, and except you have something to hide, then you can continue to shield these subsidiaries. But they must appear before Nigerians and tell them about the funds in their kitty. They have to come here and answer the queries about the abnormalities the AuGF observed in their operations. This is our position.”
Chinyere Igwe (PDP, Rivers) said by the admittance of the GMD, he could not legally stand in for the subsidiaries since he admitted that they were registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and operating as individual companies.
Reacting to the reported missing of 107 million barrel of crude oil, Kyari said: “Nobody has stolen 107 million barrels of crude oil. If for any reason, it was not well captured by the Auditor General. It is a different issue. So, this company is hiding nothing from none and we will appear before you, as directed, next week. But have it at the back of your mind that we have nothing to hide.”