Human rights lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has called on Minister of Finance, Olawale Edun, to direct Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to remit $34.2 billion to the federation account, being money received on behalf of the government from Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) between 2004 and 2021.
Falana also threatened to file a suit at the Federal High Court for immediate recovery of the sum from NNPCL, if it refuses to make the remittance.
This was contained in a letter written to the minister, dated October 25, 2023.
He noted that on April 27, 2019, the Senate committee on public accounts held a public hearing on revenue generation drive for the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP).
He said during the hearing, NLNG General Manager (External Relations and Sustainable Development), Eyono Fatai-Williams, disclosed that from 1999 to 2019, the company paid dividends of over $18 billion to Nigeria through NNPCL.
“She revealed that NLNG paid $9 billion tax to the Federal Government from 2011 till date while $15 billion had also been remitted for gas to NNPCL since inception of the company.”
According to him, following the disclosure, the Senate committee asked suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, who was in attendance, to confirm if the said sum of $33 billion was actually remitted to NNPCL.
Falana said Idris disclosed that the funds paid by NLNG were not remitted to the federation account but warehoused by NNPCL.
“Consequently, the Public Accounts Committee directed the Accountant-General to determine how much was actually remitted to the federation account, and if there was any deduction by NNPCL; how much was deducted and who authorised the deductions; and the exchange rates applied for the amount that was remitted over the years under review,” he said.
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