Senate begins probe of oil majors, banks over $62b capital flight
Senate has begun investigation into activities of some banks that allegedly collude with allegedly with some International Oil Companies, (IOCs), to defraud Nigeria.
This reported sharp practices are believed to have led to the capital flight of over $62,909,716,417 between August 2009 and December 2014 in suspicious circumstances.
Sources revealed that the affected banks were asked by the Senate to submit all copies of certified Nigeria Export Proceed,(NXP), issued/or processed by them in respect of all crude oil and gas exported by Nigeria Agip Company Ltd, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Shell Petroleum Development Co. Nig. Ltd and their affiliates between April 1996 and December, 2016.
The affected banks were also asked to produce all domiciliary accounts opened and /or closed within the period specified for all crude oil and gas exported.
Some banks had appeared before the investigative joint committee, last Thursday, while other banks that have been identified with the export of oil and gas will also appear.
The “Investigation of the pre-shipment inspection of export activities in Nigeria” is being conducted by the Senate joint committee on Finance, Trade and Investment, Gas, Petroleum Upstream, Banking, insurance and other Financial Institutions, Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, and Customs and Excise.
A member of the committee, Senator Yusuf Yusuf (Taraba State), wanted to know why funds brought into the country as oil export proceeds were wholly withdrawn a day after such proceeds were brought into the country.
He stressed that the probe became imperative because the banks have obligation under the law to ensure that petroleum products exporters did the right thing by obeying the guidelines and laws of the country.
Senator Yusuf said: “It is worrisome that money comes in today, tomorrow the same amount goes out of the country. The practice runs through statement of account submitted by the banks. The oil companies bring in $20 billion today, tomorrow $20 billion is taken out of the account”.
“Some of the banks are colluding with multinational oil companies to defraud the country. The government relies on the banks; the banks are now colluding with the multi-national oil companies.”
Senator Yusuf, who noted that it was obvious that Nigeria was not getting the correct export proceeds from oil and gas exports, stressed that the banks had a responsibility to abide by the law.
He said it was worrisome that no indications were made about who paid for the oil exports.