Nigeria Senate to Probe $3.5 Billion Spent by State Oil Firm

(Bloomberg) -- Lawmakers in Nigeria will investigate $3.5 billion allegedly spent by the state oil firm on gasoline subsidies and expressed concern that the sum was not included in the national budget.

The amount was used by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. under a so-called Subsidy Recovery Fund managed only by the NNPC’s managing director, Maikanti Baru, and a senior finance official, according to the senator who brought up the motion Tuesday, Biodun Olujimi.

“This fund is too huge for two people to manage,” she said during a plenary in the capital, Abuja, according to transcriptions posted on the Senate’s Twitter account after the motion was passed. “The $3.5 billion is too huge to be managed without appropriation.”

The NNPC denied any wrongdoing and said it wasn’t in the custody of a $3.5 billion fund. A $1.05 billion “National Fuel Support Fund” was established by the firm less than a year ago “to ensure stability in the petroleum products supply,”spokesman Ndu Ughamadu said in a statement. The fund is jointly managed by the NNPC, the central bank and the finance ministry among others and the firm “did not independently spend a dime of the fund.”