Senate probes alleged $784.2m scam in Brass LNG

The Senate has directed its Committees on Public Accounts and Gas to clinically probe into the activities of the Brass LNG and the complicity therein, as well as the alleged financial fraud to the tune of  $784, 265, 947.54 in the company.
The resolution followed a motion entitled, “Monumental Corruption at the NNPC” moved by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West).
Tje Senate asked the committees to report back within four weeks.
Melaye had told the Senate that the Brass LNG was incorporated by the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, on December 9, 2003 and that it is limited by shares of $1million.
He listed the shareholders of the company as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) represented by Funsho Kupolokun with $490, 000 shares, and the Philip Brass Limited, whose address is in Cayman Island, British West Indies represented by R.L. Smith with a share capital of $170, 000.
Others mentioned by the senator are Eni International B.V with address in Amsterdam, Netherlands, represented by A. Forzoli, with shares of $170, 000, while the fourth shareholder, Chevron Texaco Brass LNG Limited with address in Bemuda, represented by J.R. Pryor, with shares of $170, 000.
Melaye said the Senate observed, from the CAC records, that the names of directors of the company were Gaius Jackson Obaseki and Yakubu Andrew, both former group managing directors, GMD of NNPC; Ibogomo Gbeyansa, Dawa Joseph, Ige David, all staffers of NNPC; and one Buba Mohammad.
The lawmaker said he observed from the memorandum of understanding that the Brass LNG  was supposed to be a joint venture company with the NNPC having the controlling shares and their account domiciled with the CBN.
He, however, expressed surprise that “the account of this company is with Keystone Bank opened on 1st August, 2012 with account number 1005825168, a USA domiciliary account with a closing balance of $137, 086, 462.54 currently, while the sum of $648, 179, 487 was recorded as the account’s last inflow on 9th September, 2016, and a withdrawal of $4million was effected on the 18th November, 2016 without BVN (Bank Verification Number.)”
According to Melaye, a lot of questions are begging for answers as regards the Brass LNG, including the status of investment and principal objectives of the company; the signatories to the account; the status of the federal government investment; the returns on investment; and was due process followed in the formation and appropriation of shares in the company?
He, therefore, emphasised “an urgent need to define the position of the company vis-a-vis its operation, management and mandate in order to halt this seeming corruption”.
While amending the only prayer of the motion, James Manager (PDP, Delta South) said the Committee on Gas should be made to assist the Committee on Public Affairs in the probe, while Joshua Lidani (PDP, Gombe South) seconded the amendment after which it was approved by the senators at plenary through voice votes.
In his remarks, the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, directed it to the Committees on Public Accounts, and Gas for thorough investigation, with a mandate to report back within four weeks.

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