Buhari’s Chief Of Staff Abba Kyari’s Directed Us To Keep N50bn Away From TSA – NNPC MD

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President Buhari and Abba Kyari in state house before the chief of staff was suspended 
The House of Representatives on Tuesday raised
questions over a “purported” presidential approval withholding some special
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation accounts from being transferred to the
Treasury Single Account.
The accounts, with funds worth N50bn, are still being
kept by commercial banks in breach of the TSA policy, which provides that all
accounts belonging to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government should
be transferred to the TSA.
The TSA, a centralised Federal Government revenue
account, is kept by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
A Nigerian firm, SystemSpecs, provides the Remita
electronic platform for running the TSA, saving the Federal Government revenue
that could, ordinarily, have been lost.
An ad hoc committee of the House chaired by a member
of the All Progressives Congress from Kano State, Mr. Abubakar Danburam-Nuhu,
found out that the NNPC directed some commercial banks to still keep the
accounts outside the TSA.
The CBN confirmed to the committee that it was aware
of the excluded accounts, pointing to a document tendered by the NNPC saying
that there was a presidential approval.
The said approval was a memo written by the Chief
Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari, authorising the NNPC to exclude the
accounts from the TSA.
Expressing surprise over the discovery, Danburam-Nuhu
stated, “Banks are still holding accounts with funds up to N50bn outside the
TSA.
“The banks claim that there is an approval by the
President for the accounts to operate outside the TSA.
“These are NNPC’s accounts and the corporation must
produce evidence of the presidential approval.”
A senior official of the CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun,
confirmed to the committee that the NNPC indeed wrote to inform the apex bank
of the exemptions.
However, Fatokun specifically mentioned accounts
relating to Joint Ventures operations as the NNPC accounts covered by the
exemptions.
“The banks are actually holding some accounts. We are
aware. It’s not yet a case of 100 percent transfers to the TSA,” Fatokun
explained.
He also informed the committee that some accounts
still being kept by the banks had legal limitations, while others were accounts
owned by the Judiciary and the National Assembly.
“We are compiling a report on each of the banks and it
will be ready soon,” Fatokun told the lawmakers.
A memo by Kyari, purporting to convey President
Muhammadu Buhari’s exemption directive, was analysed by members of the
committee and was rejected as “not convincing.”
One member, Mr. Edward Pwajok (SAN), said the memo
didn’t say much other than opening with the line, “I have been directed.”
Pwajok added that in the circumstances, the proper
thing to do was to summon Kyari to convince the committee that Buhari indeed
granted the exemptions.
“Let him come here to show us the evidence of the
directive given to him by Mr. President,” Pwajok said.
Another member, Mr. Simon Arabo, noted that Kyari’s
memo appeared to be an “Executive Order,” which had to be further examined by
the committee.
The committee made two rulings. The Group Managing
Director of the NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, was summoned to produce the
presidential approval within 48 hours.
It also directed the CBN to submit a reconciliation
report on the accounts still kept by commercial banks before the end of this
month.
The committee commended SystemSpecs for the efficiency
of its operations and urged the government to pay for its services.
Danburam-Nuhu stated, “SystemSpecs is being owed money
for services it rendered to the country over a period of time. The company
should be encouraged.
“If a local firm has performed this well, why owe them
money?
“The committee will ensure that the money that is due
to Remita and other stakeholders is paid.”
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