Probe missing $15bn, N200bn of oil revenues – SERAP tells Tinubu

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Bola Tinubu to “set up a presidential panel of enquiry to promptly probe the grim allegations that over US$15 billion of oil revenues, and N200 billion budgeted to repair the refineries are missing and unaccounted for between 2020 and 2021, as documented by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).”

SERAP urged Tinubu to name and shame anyone suspected to be responsible for the missing and unaccounted public funds and to ensure their effective prosecution, as well as the full recovery of proceeds of crime.

The organization also urged him “to fully implement all the recommendations by NEITI in its 2021 report.”

In the letter dated 23 September 2023 and signed by SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “There is a legitimate public interest in ensuring justice and accountability for these serious allegations. Taking these important measures would end the impunity of perpetrators.

“As President and Minister of Petroleum Resources, your office ought to be concerned about these damning revelations, by getting to the bottom of the allegations and ensuring that suspected perpetrators are promptly brought to justice, and any missing public funds fully recovered.

“Any failure to investigate these grave allegations, bring suspected perpetrators to justice and recover any missing public funds would have serious resource allocation and exacerbate the country’s debt burden.

“The findings by NEITI suggest a grave violation of the public trust and the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], national anti-corruption laws, and the country’s obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption.

“The allegations of corruption documented by NEITI undermine economic development of the country, trap the majority of Nigerians in poverty and deprive them of opportunities.”

“Your government has a constitutional duty to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of the country’s wealth and resources.

“According to the 2021 report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), government agencies including the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NNPC) and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPDC) failed to remit $13.591 million and $8.251 billion to the public treasury.

“The NNPC and NPDC failed to remit over 70% of these public funds. NEITI wants both the NNPC and NPDC to be investigated, and for the missing public funds to be fully recovered.

“The report documents that about N200 billion was spent on ‘refineries rehabilitation’ between 2020 and 2021 but none of the refineries was operational in 2021 despite the spending. NEITI wants the spending to be investigated, as the money may be missing.”

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