Sunday Aborisade, Abuja
The Senate, on Thursday, threatened to issue an arrest warrant on the management of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited, Benin City, and the National Petroleum Investment Management Services in Lagos.
This was sequel to the refusal of the management staff of the Federal Government agencies to appear before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to defend allegations of funds misappropriation and impunity levelled against them.
Messrs Ismail Mohammed and Haruna Danladi had written separate petitions against the SPDC and the NAPIMS management before the panel.
The petitions were laid by the Chairman of the committee, Ayo Akinyelure, on Wednesday, December 16, 2020.
The petitioners alleged that the NPDC and NAPIMS misappropriated the revenue due to the Federal Government running into billions of naira.
The petitioners also alleged that the actions of the officials had resulted in revenue loss to the Federal Government on an annual basis between 2016 and 2018.
They had also stated that the two agencies’ top officials had been short-changing the Federal Government by not declaring their full revenues and were also allegedly involved in the award of contracts only to their cronies.
The petitioners requested the Senate to look into the matter with a view to nipping in the bud the high level of fraud prevalent in the two organisations.
The management staff members of the two agencies were not available to defend themselves when the matter came up before the Senate panel on Wednesday.
Speaking with our correspondent on Thursday, Akinyelure said his panel had decided to issue an arrest warrant on the managing directors and directors of finance of the two agencies.
He said, “We have tried to use alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve the matter. Several letters have been written to the managing directors of the NPDC and NAPIMS in the past but they ignored them.
“They have refused to appear before the Senate. This is the third time that we decided to schedule it for a public hearing.
“The onus has been shifted to the managing directors of the NPDC and NAPIMS to defend themselves over the alleged claims of non-accountability of the revenue due to the Federal Government.
“We expect them to come with their audited accounts. We have written them to come with certain other documents, but up to today, they have refused to appear before the Senate.
“We have now resolved as a committee that failure to appear before us on March 29 to defend the allegations against them, we will be left with no option but to demand the issuance of a warrant of arrest on the MDs and the directors of finance of the two agencies to appear before us.
“If they fail to appear, we will have no other option but to issue them a warrant of arrest to bring them before the committee.
“The letter inviting them to come and attend the meeting will be forwarded to them in due course and we expect them to respect their office to defend the petitions if they don’t have a skeleton in their cupboard.”