Reps: Help! Agencies undermining probe of NNPC over fraud

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The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee Investigating the Non-remittance of Funds to Federation Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has accused some agencies of undermining its investigation.

Chairman of the committee, Chukwuka Onyema, made the allegation at Thursday’s plenary presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara in Abuja.

The House had constituted an ad hoc committee on July 11, 2018 to investigate the alleged non-remittance of funds by the NNPC from January 2018 to date.

The lawmaker, who expressed concern that invited agencies deliberately refused to honour the invitation, said they continued to undermine the committee’s effort at unravelling the mystery surrounding the deal.

”The House noted that in the course of the investigation, the committee invited all agencies that have direct and ancillary roles to play in the process of revenue collection, remittance and audit of all collected revenue.

”The House is worried that the agencies deliberately refused to appear before the committee and when attempts were made to invoke legislative sanctions, the agencies adopted delay tactics to frustrate and blackmail the committee,” he said.

Onyema, who represents Ogbaru Federal Constituency of Anambra State, said requests for documents were also not honoured by the agencies.

”And further attempts by the committee to obtain sensitive information through other agencies were blocked or sabotaged.

”The House observed that the deliberate attempts to undermine the legislative arm of government particularly, the House of Representatives, has directly and indirectly undermined the constitutional principle of separation of powers and checks and balances,” he said.

The legislator stressed that if urgent steps were not taken to probe the allegation that necessitated the constitution of the committee, ”it may lead to serious abuse and deliberate constitutional breaches in our polity.”

Dogara, who described the motion as ”a straight forward one,” put it on a voice vote.

The lawmakers unanimously adopted it and the ad hoc committee’s mandate was extended by two weeks to enable it present its report.

However, Onyema refused to mention the names of the affected agencies.
He said: ”Don’t worry. We are giving them another chance and if they fail to come, we will mention them.”

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