Tony Akowe, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Tuesday threatened to issue a warrant of arrest for the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPRA, Tony Okonkwo, if he failed to appear before it to explain why the agency failed to remit generated revenue to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation from 2014 to 2019.
Chairman of House Committee on Finance, Rep. James Faleke, who issued the threat after his Committee dismissed officials from the agency who appeared in representative capacity gave the Executive Secretary a 30th March 2020 deadline to appear before the House.
The Committee had threatened early last month to order the removal of the General Manager, Finance at the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, over alleged diversion of over N13 billion funds generated from operations of the agency in 2014.
The General Manager of Finance, Peter Joshua, who represented the Executive Secretary, told the committee that in the PPPRA generated only N2.8billion, in 2014 even though, according to the lawmakers, PPPRA made about N13 billion from 15k charge on every litre, deducted from sales of petroleum products.
But Joshua insisted that what his agency received from the actual revenue generated, was N2.8billion and not N13 billion as calculated by the lawmakers, adding that the balance of over N11 billion was still with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and other marketers.
The House Committee on Finance became infuriated by the submission of Mr. Joshua, threatening to order his sack.
The Committee members accused him of shoddy management of the finances due to government, recommending that he be shown the way out.
The lawmakers expressed sadness about how PPPRA have shortchanged the government and people of the country for years.
The agency informed the committee that in 2014 it paid only N501. 2 million to the consolidated revenue account, and defaulted in subsequent years, from 2015 till date.
The committee members were of the opinion that even if the N501million was a ‘constant’ as revenue from PPPRA within the period under consideration, then it would have shortchanged government to the tune of over N2bn.
It would be recalled that the Committee had summoned the ES to appear on February 24, with statements of account, outstanding indebtedness, annual budgets, from 2011 till date and copies of all reconciliation with NNPC as well as all the contracts awarded and names of contracts and details, but he failed to do so.
The House Committee is investigating the non-remittance of funds to the Federation Account by Federal agencies.