Nigeria’s upper chambers mandate $18 bln NLNG dividend probe

Nigeria’s Senate is scrutinizing the oil sector. The country’s lawmakers have ordered the country’s top accountant to investigate the sum of $18 billion dividend payments made by the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas – NLNG between 2004 and 2019.

The NLNG is a joint venture partnership between the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation – NNPC and oil majors such as Eni, Total and Royal Dutch Shell.

According to senate documents, the lawmakers mandated the investigation during a hearing on the country’s budget plans for 2021 to 2023 without providing any details of wrongdoing.

NLNG’s External relations manager, Eyono Fatai–William, who presented the country’s financial summary says they a dividend of over $18 billion was paid to Nigeria from 2004-2019.

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The senate statement shows that the Accountant General, Ahmed Idris on his part says it was “difficult to determine with any certainty” the details of the dividend paid to NNPC.

“The accountant general was mandated to investigate among other things, if the amount was actually remitted to NNPC, how much was actually remitted to the Federation Account, if there is any deduction by NNPC, how much was deducted and who authorized the deductions,” it said in its statement.

The committee chairman requests that Idris investigates the payments and report back to the Senate in two weeks.

Nigeria’s lawmakers have increased their oversight functions and further scrutiny of all financial management issues since President Muhammadu Buhari came to office in 2015 vowing to plug leakages in state coffers.

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