Senate tackles banks over oil firms’ $63b capital flight
15 May 2017 National
The Senate is investigating some banks for alleged collusion with some international oil companies (IOCs) to defraud the country.
Over $62,909,716,417 is said to have been taken out of the country under suspicious circumstances between August 2009 and December 2014.
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 document obtained by News men showed the banks were asked to submit 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 Dev. Co. Nig. Ltd and their affiliates between April 1996 and December, 2016.
The banks are to submit all domiciliary accounts opened and /or closed within the period specified for crude oil and gas exported.
Two banks – Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank – appeared at the investigative joint committee on Thursday. Other banks said to be associated with the export of oil and gas will also appear.
A member of the committee, Senator Yusuf Yusuf (Taraba State), queried why funds brought into the country as oil export proceeds were wholly withdrawn a day after such proceeds were brought.
He said the probe became necessary because the banks should have ensured petroleum products exporters did the right thing by obeying the guidelines and laws of the country.
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 and tomorrow $20 billion is taken out from the account.
“The banks are colluding with multi-national oil companies to defraud the country. The government relies on the banks; the banks are now colluding with the multi-national oil companies.”
He noted that it was obvious the country was not getting the correct export proceeds from oil and gas exports.
The lawmaker, who insisted that banks had the responsibility to abide by the law, said it was worrisome no indications were made about who paid for oil exports.
He noted that the committee was interested in why same company exports and pays for products without an indication of who actually buys the products and the corresponding bank.
The Chairman of the joint committee, Senator John Enoh, said the committee was interested in ensuring that banks are not colluding with IOCs to flout the laws of the country.
Enoh said the committee would take a critical look at the submissions made by the banks to come to terms with the true position of oil and gas exports proceeds processes.
A document submitted to the committee, which was obtained by News men, showed that Citibank Nigeria operates domiciliary export proceed accounts for ENI Group (three accounts), Chevron Group (six accounts) and Shell Group (two accounts).
The document also showed that Nigerian Agip Oil Company recorded a total export inflow valued at $15,372, 882,703.36
Chevron Group recorded $44,020,596,289.99. Shell group made a total inflow valued at $3,516,237,425.79 giving total of $62,909,716,417 billion.
The committee resolved to screen documents submitted by the banks before coming up with its recommendations.
The committee expressed its determination to get to the root of pre-shipment inspection of export activities.
Source: The Nation