The House of Representatives have raised concerns over a presidential approval that exempts some special accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation accounts from the Treasury Single Account.
The accounts holding about N50 billion are still being kept by commercial banks.
This is contrary to the TSA policy stating that all accounts belonging to ministries, departments and agencies of government should be transferred to the TSA, a centralised government revenue account kept by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
An ad hoc committee of the House, chaired found out that the NNPC directed some commercial banks to keep the accounts outside the TSA.
The CBN confirmed to the committee that it is aware of the accounts, citing to a document tendered by the NNPC that claimed a presidential approval.
The said approval was a memo written by the President Muhammadu Buhari Chief Staff to authorising the NNPC to exclude the accounts from the TSA.
Expressing surprise over the discovery, Committee Chairman Abubakar Danburam-Nuhu wondered 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,” he said.
“These are NNPC accounts and the corporation must produce evidence of the presidential approval.”
A senior official of the CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, told the committee that the NNPC indeed wrote to inform the apex bank of the exemptions.
He mentioned accounts relating to JV operations as the NNPC accounts covered by the exemptions.
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“The banks are actually holding some accounts. We are aware. It’s not yet a case of 100 per cent transfer to the TSA,” he explained.
Fatokun also informed the committee that some accounts, still being kept by the banks, have legal limitations, while others are accounts owned by the judiciary and the National Assembly.
The memo by CoS Abba Kyari was analysed by members of the committee.
One of the members, Edward Pwajok (SAN), said the memo did not say much other than opening with the line, “I have been directed.”
According to him, in such circumstances, the proper thing to do is to summon Kyari to convince the committee that Buhari indeed granted the exemptions.
Another member, Simon Arabo, said the memo seemed an “Executive Order”, which had to be further examined by the committee.
The committee then decided that the NNPC Group Managing Director Maikanti Baru be summoned to produce the presidential approval within 48 hours.
It also directed the CBN to submit a reconciliation report on the accounts still with commercial banks before the end of this month.
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