Senator Shehu Sani lawmaker representing Kaduna Central at the Senate has reacted to alleged 273billion missing from the coffers of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Investigation by a national daily, Daily Trust, reported that the aforementioned money is missing from the account of the DPR.
The news medium said a report from an audit of revenue accounts of the organisation revealed a total sum of US$759, 387,755.10 (N273,379, 591,837.00) was illegally withdrawn from the Signature Bonus Accounts belonging to the DPR.
It said the audit was carried out by a team of auditors on periodic checks from the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation (OAGF) for the period of January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2017.
The single paragraph report with reference number: OAuGF/GEN.CORR./AuGF, dated February 8, 2019, indicated that the sum of US$469,387,755.10 (N168, 979,591, 836) was withdrawn from the Signature Bonus Account domiciled with JP Morgan Chase Bank between April 10 and April 30, 2015 to an account titled “CBN Autonomous FEM Account, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria.”
The second withdrawal, according to the report titled: “Periodic Checks Report on DPR for the period of January 2014 to December 2017,” a copy of which Daily Trust on Sunday exclusively obtained, amounted to US$290,000.000.00 (N104, 400,000,000.00), was made from the Signature Bonus Account domiciled with JP Morgan Chase Bank in three tranches.
The first tranche of US$ 100,000,000.00 (N36 billion) was made on July 7, 2014 while the second trench amounting to US$40,000,000.00 (N14, 400, 000,000.00) was made on February 19, 2015. The third tranche, according to the report, amounting to US$150,000,000.00 (N54 billion), was made on May 8, 2015 via the Standard Chartered Bank to First Bank, Nigeria in favour of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).
But rather than being swept to the Federation Account, the transactions bore the description, “Being funds released to PTDF for execution of critical project.” “No explanation was provided on these withdrawals as the DPR claimed that it had no control over withdrawal from the Signature Bonus Account; though it accounts for such withdrawals in its cash book,” the report said.
The Periodic Checks Report signed by the Auditor General for the Federation (AGF), A.M. Ayine, requested the director of the DPR to provide explanation on how withdrawals from the Signature Bonus Account are recognised in the books of the organisation.
Similarly, the Accountant General of the Federation, the Minister of Finance and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were requested to produce the authority to transfer funds from the Signature Bonus Account to any other account rather than to the Federation Account.
“Furthermore, the Accountant General of the Federation and the Minister of Finance should provide details of the utilisation of the US$759, 387,755.10 withdrawn from the Signature Bonus Account,” the report stated.
The manager, Public Affairs of the organisation, Paul Osu, admitted that they got the query from the office of the Auditor General for the Federation “but it was not meant for us, so we forwarded it to the office of the Accountant General.”
Attempt to speak with the Auditor-General for further clarification on the matter did not yield positive results by press time as several calls put across to his mobile phone line were unanswered.
Reacting, the Kaduna lawmaker called for an investigation to unravel the whereabouts of the missing fund.
“The Daily Trust investigation and report that N273 Billion disappeared from the DPR like magic should not be treated with ‘Cold and complicit Silence’, Sani tweeted on Monday.
“Thieves need not prove themselves that they are thieves, but saints have to always prove themselves that they are saints,” he added.