Worried by the volume of capital flight taking place in Nigeria, in the face of the current economic hardship in the system, the Senate is now probing some banks over alleged collusion with some International Oil Companies (IOCs) to defraud the country.
It was alleged that over $62,909,716,417 billion had been taken out of the country under suspicious circumstances within the subperiod between August 2009 and December 2014. 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 has been mandated by the Red Chamber to carry out a thorough investigation into the pre-shipment inspection of export activities in Nigeria within the period stated above.
Two banks, Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank appeared before the investigative joint committee on Thursday while other banks said to be associated with the export of oil and gas will also appear in due course. A document submitted to the committee, and obtained by our correspondent, shows 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 shows that Nigerian Agip Oil Company recorded a total export inflow valued at $15,372, 882,703.36 Chevron Group recorded a total inflow valued at $44,020,596,289.99 while Shell Group made a total inflow valued at $3,516,237,425.79 giving total of $62,909,716,417 billion.
Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (Taraba State), who is a member of the joint committee, queried why funds brought into the country as oil export proceeds were wholly withdrawn a day after such proceeds were brought into the country. According to him, the probe became imperative because the banks have the obligation under the law to ensure that petroleum products exporters do the right thing by obeying the guidelines and laws of the country.
“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; tomorrow $20 billion is taken out from the account.
“The banks are colluding with multinational oil companies to defraud the country. The government relies on the banks, but the banks are now colluding with the multinational oil companies,” the lawmaker stated. The Chairman of the joint committee, Senator John Enoh, said that the committee was also interested to ensure that banks were not colluding with IOCs to flout the laws of the country. Enoh said that the committee would critically examine the submissions made by the banks to come to terms with the true position of oil and gas exports proceeds processes.