Senate Threatens Anti-Graft Agencies' Involvement in N135bn CBN Gas Intervention Fund Probe - The Top Society

Senate Threatens Anti-Graft Agencies’ Involvement in N135bn CBN Gas Intervention Fund Probe

The Senate Committee on Gas Resources has issued a stern warning, indicating its intention to involve anti-graft agencies in the ongoing investigation of the N135 billion Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Gas Intervention Fund. The committee’s threat was voiced during a session where 14 implicated companies appeared to provide explanations regarding their utilization of the CBN loans.
Expressing dissatisfaction, lawmakers highlighted the alleged lack of collaboration between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the CBN in executing the project. The discriminatory disbursement of funds to beneficiaries, with some firms exceeding the N10 billion credit limit, also drew scrutiny from the panel.
Senator Jarigbe Jarigbe, the Chairman of the Committee, collected records of the beneficiaries and the locations of their project sites for immediate investigations. He emphasized the committee’s commitment to ensuring funds were appropriately utilized, stating that inconsistencies in the process may lead to the involvement of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for fund recovery.
Jarigbe noted, “The task of the committee is to ensure that the companies actually expended the funds on what they collected it for.

“The observation of the committee is that there are inconsistencies in the process and the committee may not hesitate to involve the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to recover the funds. Some of the beneficiaries did not follow the guidelines. For instance, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is not even aware that the funds have been released.

“The guidelines stated clearly without ambiguity that they are supposed to do evaluation at the ministry before the list of the qualified ones would be sent to the CBN for them to access the loans but that was not done properly.

“We have also discovered that some of the companies do not have anything on ground since they got the loan.”

“The committee would investigate all the observations and work on them and let Nigerians know the true position of things.”

Concerns were raised about firms lacking tangible projects despite receiving loans. The committee pledged to thoroughly investigate the observations and provide clarity on the situation to the public.
Legal Adviser to Lee Engineering and Construction Company, Mathew Agbadon, expressed dissatisfaction with the negative publicity generated by the committee’s publications. Meanwhile, Oluremi Komolafe, the Director of Gas in the Ministry, revealed that the Ministry was unaware of the fund’s disbursement, even though it collaborated with the CBN on the scheme. She stated that 150 applications were received, 69 companies were recommended, and 16 applications were currently being processed, none of which had been listed as beneficiaries.
The committee rebuked firms claiming no affiliation with either the ministry or the CBN, highlighting the need for transparency and accountability in the disbursement of the Gas Intervention Fund. The investigation aims to unravel discrepancies and uphold the integrity of financial processes within the gas sector.
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