By Tom Okpe
The House of Representatives has directed the Accountant General of the Federation, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Chevron Nigeria Ltd and other stakeholders to provide it with relevant documents as it probe joint venture (JV) operations and Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) in the oil and gas sector since 1990 to authenticate legality of the transactions.
Abubakar Fulata, Chairman of the House ad-hoc committee investigating the structure and accountability of the joint venture businesses and production sharing contracts of the then Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Ltd (NNPC Ltd), gave the directives at the commencement of the investigation at its public hearing on Wednesday.
Fulata said the investigation will be carried out within the constitutional mandate of the National Assembly as part of its quasi-judicial responsibility to ensure transparency in the conduct of government businesses.
He asked chief executives of all invited organisations to appear in person with documents as from Friday, warning that the committee would not entertain any memorandum or presentation from any staff other than the Heads of the affected organisations.
“It should be noted that any infraction in the oil and gas business either by the operating companies or individuals within the sector has a corollary effect on the Nigerian economy, therefore, the committee in the conduct of this hearing will not leave any stone unturned as we pledge to act fairly in the best interest of the stakeholders and the Nigerian state.
“The thrust of this assignment shall be to critically examine whether the operations of the joint venture businesses and production sharing contracts between the oil companies involved in these arrangements with the NNPC have been conducted within the ambit of the laws and to determine whether the benefits accrued to the Nigeria state has been fair and reasonable, “he said.
The Committee Chairman also summoned Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, chief executive officers of the oil companies to appear before the committee on Friday to state their positions on the contracts.
In his open address to the lawmakers, representative of the Accountant General of the Federation, Onochie Peter said all items on the JVC proceeds are not available because they are still waiting for response from the CBN and NNPC Ltd.
Peter, Director Audit Monitoring, also said the office is not involved in the payments of JVCs transactions, but only receive proceeds.
But interjecting, Fulata said: “The documents we are asking must pass through you, the Accountant General for record keeping. No wonder, we are experiencing these leakages in our revenues, our investment is not tracked.”