Abuja - The Joint Senate Committee investigating the management of fuel subsidy on Monday accused the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of operating an illegal account at JP Morgan Bank in the U.S.
The joint committee is made up of Petroleum (Downstream), Appropriation and Finance Committees.
The chairman of the Committee, Sen. Magnus Abe, made the accusation at a public hearing of the committee in Abuja.
He said that NNPC operated an account where it kept proceeds from the sales of crude oil before transferring the money to the federation account.
He said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had informed the committee about the existence of the NNPC account in the bank.
He said that the account was illegal because it breached the provisions of the constitution which stipulated that all government revenues must be paid directly into the federation account.
"CBN came here and said it was aware of the account but that it was not a signatory.
"If the NNPC sells crude, it is supposed to remit such funds to the federation account, but sending such proceeds to any other account before sending to the federation account is illegal," he stressed.
A member of the committee, Sen. Ita Enang, said that there was the need for the ministers of finance and petroleum resources to verify the actual revenue generated by the NNPC.
"You must put in place a mechanism to ensure that the NNPC, FIRS and customs paid all revenues generated into the federation account and not to remit just the target they were given.
"This will ensure that even when they generate surplus revenue, all are remitted into government coffers."
The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, told the committee that NNPC operated the account to facilitate its commercial transactions.
"I am aware that the NNPC runs an account into which all revenue accruable to Federal Government are kept and then transferred into the federation account.
"NNPC being a commercial transactor, probably needs an account where payments are made into before they are transferred to the federation account," she said.
The Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, Mr Andrew Yakubu said that CBN was a signatory to the account.
"I am aware that we sell crude and pay the money into an account managed by the CBN.
The committee directed the Executive Director in charge of Finance to appear before it on Tuesday to furnish it with details of the JP Morgan account.