Human rights lawyer Femi Falana SAN has accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of failing to remit over $20.2bn since the return of democracy in 1999 to date, saying that, “Instead of piling up external loans the federal government should be compelled by the Nigerian people to embark on the immediate recovery and repatriation of hundreds of billions of dollars from the NNPC.”
“Transparency and accountability are interconnected to the application of economic, political and administrative management of the affairs of a state. The exercise of these affairs is that they must be seen to be exercised by the citizens of a state. Where a government parastatal such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is said to have failed to remit oil revenue to the tune of $20billion, issues of good transparency and governance becomes a crucial issue.
Falana was speaking today in Lagos at a National Seminar on Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the Recovery of Stolen Asset in Nigeria: Agenda for Reform organized by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in collaboration with the Ford Foundation, USA.
Falana said in his paper that, “The Federal Government has to re-focus its recovery of stolen assets by vigorously pursuing recovery of assets from multinational corporations and not just the countries that illegally keeping the looted wealth of the country. The recovery of our looted wealth should also be extended to the few Nigerians who have been indicted in the Panama and Paradise papers. The EFCC and the Federal Inland Revenue Service should recover appropriate taxes from the offshore companies set up by such individuals.”
Falana called on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to “comply with the order of the federal high court which has directed the federal government to account for the loot recovered since 1999.”
In August, Minister of state petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu said that the NNPC GMD, Mr. Maikanti Baru circumvented extant procurement regulations in awarding a series of contracts up to $25 billion —or N9 trillion at prevailing exchange rate of N360 to a dollar— warning of grave consequences the decisions could wreak if allowed to stand.
Mr. Kachikwu gave a breakdown of the contracts said to have been awarded without recourse to the Ministry of Petroleum or the management board of the NNPC as including $10 billion crude term contracts; $5 billion direct sales direct purchase (DSDP) contracts and $3 billion AKK pipeline contract.
He also said $3 billion was awarded as a contract for various financing allocation funding contracts and another $3-4 billion NPDC production service contracts.
“Architecture of corruption is intact” despite the ongoing fight against corruption by the Buhari’s administration. This scandal reveals the whole truth,” said Yinka Odumakin.