The Federal Ministry of Finance has denied knowledge of a 3.5 billion-dollar fund allegedly kept and utilised by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for fuel subsidy.
The Permanent Secretary, Mr Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, gave the ministry’s position when he appeared before the Senate ad hoc committee probing the allegation in Abuja on Thursday.
Isa-Dutse’s claim appeared to corroborate the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Maikanti Baru, who restated the agency’s denial that it had no such fund in its custody.
The allegation emanated from the Minority Leader of the Senate, Abiodun Olujimi, at plenary on Oct. 16.
In a point of order, Olujimi had alleged there was a 3.5 billion dollar “Subsidy Recovery Fund being managed only by the GMD and Executive Director, Finance, of the NNPC”.
It was on the basis of that allegation that the Senate set up the committee, chaired by the Majority Leader, Sen. Ahmed Lawan.
Isa-Dutse said the ministry was only aware of the outstanding payments under the old subsidy regime, being handled by the Debt Management Office (DMO).
“As far as the current fuel importation regime is concerned, the Ministry of Finance does not have any account it is operating.
“We are not aware of the alleged 3.5 billion dollar fund, and we do not maintain any subsidy fund account,” he said.
The NNPC had earlier denied the 3.5 billion dollar subsidy fund claim in a statement on Oct. 17.