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Okonjo-Iweala denies details of NNPC crude account

Published by Tribune on Tue, 03 Jul 2012

MINISTER of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has denied having any knowledge of the details of the crude account opened by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, had said the account, named JP Morgan, was being managed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).Appearing before the Senate joint committee investigating the management of the fuel subsidy, on Monday, she explained the circumstances surrounding the existence of such account, adding that it was one of the three sources the Federal Government got its revenue.According to her, 'to get the revenues of the federation, we rely on three main sources or three main agencies. These agencies pay the money into the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) monthly.'The sources, according to her, were 'the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which collects royalties, revenues and taxes; the NNPC, which is our representative in the collection of sales from crude oil; and the Customs Service, which collects the taxes and duties from customs.'However, when asked whether she had knowledge as to how much was in the crude account, Okonjo-Iweala said the CBN was in a better position to know the details, because she was not a signatory to the account.'But with regards to accounts outside the jurisdiction of the ministry, if I'm not a signatory to that account, it will be very difficult for me to check. The CBN will be able to do that; but not us directly.'Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Magnus Abe, however, called for an immediate reversion to procedures backed by constitutional provisions, lamenting that it was unheard of that commercial laws overtook constitutional laws as a result of exigencies brought about by certain transactions.
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