Reacting to the allegation yesterday, the CBN said that its actions and activities fall within the principles of banker-customer relationship. It will be recalled that NNPC officials, at the public hearing of the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and Appropriation and Finance, alleged that the CBN operates a secret foreign bank account.
But in a statement by the CBN spokesman, Mr. Ugo Okoroafor, the apex bank stated that “as banker and financial adviser to the Federal Government and its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the actions and activities of the Central Bank of Nigeria, fall within the principles of banker-customer relationship. The CBN does not and cannot open any account for Government and its agencies, unless and until clear and specific instructions, approvals or mandates are issued by the appropriate authorities.”
Explaining its own side of the story, it said:“We wish to state clearly, the following facts regarding the accounts in question:“That the CBN/NNPC Crude Oil & Gas Account was opened on May 16, 2002, on the express instruction of the Accountant-General of the Federation vide a mandate ref: No; CS/5385/S.23/94/DDF, dated May 15, 2002.
“That the CBN/NNPC Gas Account was opened on February 3, 2009, following a similar instruction from the Account-General of the Federation, vide mandate ref. No: FD/5385/S.71/1/178/DF, dated January 28, 2009.
“That the two accounts, which were opened as domiciliary accounts, are backed by the appropriate mandates of the OAGF.
That in operating the said Accounts, the NNPC on monthly basis issues instructions to the CBN on how much should be paid as Joint Venture Cash Call (JVCC) and how much should be monetised and transferred to the Federation Account for distribution to the three tiers of government. “A minimum balance of USD10m is always left in the revenue account.
That on the CBN/NNPC Gas Account, the NNPC issues monthly mandates to enable the CBN monetise and transfer the balance in the account to the Federation Account, leaving a minimum balance of USD5 million.
In the case of the said accounts, this is done with both JP Morgan Chase and NNPC while the OAGF is availed with monthly reconciliation reports on the accounts. CBN said it is important to reiterate for the purposes of clarity, that mandates to open the accounts were duly authorised by OAGF; NNPC remains the sole signatory to the accounts; NNPC issues and authorises the mandates for movement of funds out of the accounts and CBN acts only in accordance with mandates issues by NNPC on these accounts.”