The Senate has declared that it will be involving Anti-graft Agencies in the country to recover N135 billion Central Bank of Nigeria intervention funds to some firms in the oil and gas sector.
The Senate Committee on Gas Resources said the money must be recovered from defaulting beneficiaries.
The panel said this when the affected companies, numbering 14, appeared before it on Thursday to defend the utilisation of the loans they collected.
The members described as unacceptable the fact that there was no synergy between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the CBN on the project.
They also questioned the discriminatory disbursement of the funds to the beneficiaries and wondered why some firms collected more than the N10 billion credit limit.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Agom Jarigbe, collected the records of the beneficiaries and the locations of their project sites for immediate investigations.
Speaking at the investigative hearing, Jarigbe lamented that the funds released under the gas expansion and intervention fund were inappropriately accessed.
He said, “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 had 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,” Jarigbe added.
However, theLegal Adviser to one of the beneficiaries, Lee Engineering and Construction Company, Mathew Agbadon, told the committee that the publication made by the committee had put the firm in a negative perspective.
He said, “There has been a fundamental misconception out there in the public domain that some people just leverage on the CBN money, stole it and went away.
“That is far from the truth. The truth of the matter is that as a beneficiary of that scheme, we had business with the commercial bank.
“The discussion was done at the commercial bank level and due diligence was done and our application was approved.
“Based on the application we accessed the facility as an organisation.
“Lee Engineering has been in the oil and gas industry for 32 years with over 4,000 employees.”