Reps begin oil sector probe next Tuesday
By Chrisboy, Abuja
Published: Friday, 18 Jul 2008
There are indications that the House of Representatives’ investigation of under-hand deals in the oil and gas sector will begin next Tuesday in Abuja.
Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole
Two members of the 26-member House panel in separate interviews disclosed this to our correspondent on Thursday.
It was gathered that the Chairman of Joint-Committees Panel, Mr. Igu Aguma, will address the press on Friday, (today) to officially announce the commencement.
The panel members had participated in a three-day retreat during which consultants hired to assist in the investigation, put them through the intricacies of the oil and gas sector.
The investigative panel will beam its searchlight on activities in the sector from 1999 till date, just as the panel’s membership cuts across all political parties.
However, one of the sources said that the House leadership was yet to release to the panel the N273m it had requested to carry out the assignment due to bureaucratic bottlenecks.
The exercise, he emphasised, must go on as the committee would find other ways of meeting the financial challenges.
A source said, “We have concluded preliminary works on the exercise and the investigative hearing will start next Tuesday. But the committee will meet for the last time on Monday.
“The retreat, which we had for three days last week was very informative and useful. I can say that we are now set for the probe, despite the fact that the money we applied for has not been released.”
In response to the joint-committees’ advertorials, a member had earlier told our correspondent that the committee had collected well over 10 Ghana-must-go bags of memoranda.
Areas the panel will focus on are crude oil allocation for sales abroad, crude for local refining and proceeds accrued. Turn around maintenance of refineries, cash calls joint venture operations and their performances.
Also to be investigated are, oil block allocation and signature bonuses, West Africa Gas project, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, tender bidding for the importation of refined products, gas flaring and funds allocated to the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency since 1999.
Summoned to appear before the panel are the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Accountant-General of the Federation, Department of Petroleum Resources and all the oil companies operating in the country.