The Senate has affirmed that the Federal Government lost over $62.91 billion in five years through shady deals between some Nigerian banks and multi-national oil companies.
The fraud was allegedly committed between August 2009 and 2014.
In the alleged secret deal, the affected commercial banks connived with the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to move the money out of the country through dubious transactions.
Over $62.909 billion was taken out of the country under suspicious circumstances between August 2009 and December 2014 alone.
A document on the controversial transactions showed that the figures were obtained when the Senate asked the affected banks to submit all copies of certified Nigeria Export Proceed (NXP) issued/or processed by them in respect of all crude oil and gas exported by Nigeria Agip Company Ltd, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Ltd and their affiliates between April 1996 to December 2016.
In the document, Agip recorded a total export inflow of $15.372 billion while Chevron had a total inflow of $44.020 billion.
Similarly, Shell made a total inflow valued at $3.516 billion bringing the total to $62.909 billion.
The document further showed that Citibank Nigeria operated three domiciliary export proceeds accounts for ENI Group, six for Chevron Group and two for Shell.
The Senate is conducting an investigation into the pre-shipment inspection of export activities in Nigeria. It is being carried out by 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.
The panel asked the banks to submit all domiciliary accounts opened and /or closed within the period for all crude oil and gas exported.
Two banks – Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank – appeared before the committee recently while other banks associated with the export of oil and gas will come at a later date.
A member of the committee, Senator Yusuf Yusuf (Taraba State) queried why funds brought into the country as oil export proceeds are wholly withdrawn a day after they were remitted.
He said that the probe became necessary because the banks had the obligation under the law to ensure that petroleum products exporters do the right thing by obeying the guidelines and laws of the country.
Yusuf said: “It is worrisome that money comes in today, tomorrow the same amount goes out of the country. The practice runs through statements of account submitted by the banks. The oil companies bring in $20 billion today, the next day the $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, which are now colluding with the multinational oil companies.”
He said that it was obvious that Nigeria was not getting the correct export proceeds from oil and gas exports.
The lawmaker, who insisted that banks have the responsibility to abide by the law, said that it is equally worrisome that no indications are made about who pays for oil exports.
The Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator John Enoh, said that the panel was interested in ensuring that banks were not colluding with the IOCs to flout the laws of the country.
Enoh said that the committee would take a critical look at the submissions made by the banks to come to terms with the true position and processes of oil and gas exports proceeds.