Alleged N13 billion fraud: Reps threaten to arrest PPPRA boss, Tony Okonkwo
The House of Representatives Committee, on Tuesday, threatened to issue a warrant of arrest for the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Mr. Tony Okonkwo, if he failed for the third time on March 30th, to honour its invitation on allegations that his agency failed to remit generated revenue from 2014 to 2019.
The Chairman of House Committee on Finance, Rep. James Faleke, issued the threat on Tuesday, after his Committee dismissed officials from the agency who appeared in a representative capacity. Recall that the House Committee on Finance had threatened early last month to effect the removal of the General Manager of Finance at the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, over alleged diversion of over N13billion of funds generated from operations of the agency in 2014.
The agency’s General Manager of Finance, Mr. Peter Joshua, who represented the Executive Secretary, told the committee that in the year 2014, his agency generated the only N2.8billion, even though, according to the lawmakers, PPPRA made about N13billion from 15k on every litre, deducted from sales of petroleum products.
Joshua however, insisted that what his agency received from the actual revenue generated, was only N2.8billion, with a balance of over 11billion still with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and other marketers of petroleum products. Mr. Joshua represented the Executive Secretary of his agency. The House Committee on Finance, became infuriated by the submission of Mr. Joshua, threatening to order his sack. The Committee members all agreed that for his shoddy management of the finances due to government, he should be given the boot.
The committee lamented how PPPRA shortchanged the government and people of the country for years. The meeting with the agency found that in 2014 alone, PPPRA was to pay as revenue the sum of N501. 2 million to the consolidated revenue account, which it declined. The agency also defaulted in subsequent years, 2015 to date.
The committee argued that even if the 501million was a “constant” as revenue from PPPRA within the period under consideration, then it would have shortchanged government to the tune of over N2bn.
The Committee had summoned the ES to appear on February 24, with statements of account, outstanding indebtedness, annual budgets, from 2011 to 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 ES also failed to appear before the House panel, on Tuesday.
The House Committee is investigating the non-remittance of funds to the Federation Account by Federal agencies. vanguard