MISSING $20 BILLION: Nigerians Reject Audit Report, Demand Full Disclosure Of Findings
konknaijaboy | On 13, Feb 2015
Nigerians have rejected the highlights of the forensic audit report on the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, released last Thursday by the federal government.
The report presented by the Auditor General of the Federation, AuGF, Samuel Ukura, showed that total revenue generated from crude oil lifting by NNPC on behalf of the Federal Government was $69.34billion (about N11.65trillion) as against $67 billion (N11.26trillion) reported at the end of the Senate probe.
Besides, the report also found out that a total cash of $50.81billion (N8.53trillion) and not $47billion (about N7.90trillion) remitted to the Federation Account from the crude oil lifting for the period under review.
According to the AuGF, based on the information available to the auditing firm, the conclusion from the audit was that NNPC and its upstream industry subsidiary, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, would refund a minimum of $1.48billion (N248.6billion).
Mr. Ukura said his presentation was made at the instance of President Goodluck Jonathan, who requested that only the highlights of the findings should be presented to the public.
However, a cross-section of Nigerians, including civil society groups, have faulted the presentation of only the highlights of the report, saying it amounted to a disservice to democracy, transparency and openness,
Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, that the president asked the AuGF to release only the highlights and not the entire report is suggestive that government has something to hide.
“The whole process was stage-managed,” Mr. Rafsanjani said. “Government hurriedly put the report together. Remember there was so much reluctance to even order the audit till Nigerians pressurized them into it.
“After the audit, the report should have been submitted since September last year, but, they kept it until Nigerians began to demand for it. So, Nigerians are not satisfied with the report. It does not meet the minimum standard for transparency and accountability.”
The Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, CENSOJ, Eze Onyekpere, said Nigerians deserved to be given the details of the findings to enable them make their objective decision on what’s going on.
“There is no reason why the whole report should not be in the public domain,” Mr. Onyekpere said. “The report of the audit should not be given in snippets. Most Nigerians are all reasonable and matured enough to read and draw their independent conclusions.
Though he supported the idea of the Auditor General, as the Chief auditor of the federation” studying the report, Mr. Ukura said the report should equally be available in the public domain for their appraisal.
“There are many Nigerians not in government, who are auditors, who can give government their own independent recommendations.
“The report should published through the website of the Federal Government, Federal Ministries of Finance, Information or Office of Accountant General and Auditor General, so that as the Auditor General is studying the report as a technocrat to make his own recommendations, Nigerian would also study to make their input,” he said.
For the Chief Executive Officer, Global Analytics Consulting Limited, Tope Fasua, the refusal of government to release the full report is a reflection of the culture of disdain for full disclosure in the country.
“MISSING $20 BILLION”: NNPC Rejects Indictment
Despite a recommendation by a government-appointed auditor that it should refund $1.48 billion (about N248.6 billion Naira) to the federation account, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, insisted Wednesday that it was not indicted by the investigations carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The Group Managing Director, GMD, of the NNPC, Joseph Dawha, said the investigations carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers over the alleged missing $20 billion oil money, did not indict the corporation in anyway.
Mr. Dawha said the report “has clearly vindicated our long held position that the alleged unremitted crude oil revenue was a farce from day one”.
He said the $1.48billion the corporation was directed to refund was actually the balance of the book value of the divested assets transferred to NNPC upstream subsidiary, the NPDC, excluding taxes and royalties.
“This does not constitute indictment; rather this value is still being reconciled with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). It is pertinent to note that the $1.48bn was not part of the alleged unremitted revenues from crude oil sales,” Mr. Dawha insisted.
According to him, what the DPR sent to the NNPC as the estimated value of the assets was $1.847billion, out of which over $300 million was paid as a token to indicate its commitment to acquiring the assets pending resolution and reconciliation by the two institutions.
On remittances of proceeds from crude oil sales into the Federation Account for the period January 1, 2012 to 31 July, 2013, the NNPC boss said the PwC Forensic Audit report was clear that NNPC remitted $50.81billion out of a total of $69.34billion.
The report acknowledged that the balance was spent on petrol and kerosene subsidy as well as the Corporation’s operation costs.
He pointed out that both the Senate Finance Committee probe report and the PwC forensic audit report confirmed its position that subsidy on kerosene was still in force as the Presidential directive of October 19, 2009, was not gazetted in line with the provisions of Section 6, Subsection 1 of the Petroleum Act of 1969.
Though the audit report had recommended a review of the laws to stop NNPC from deducting its costs and expenses from crude oil sales proceeds, Mr. Dawha acknowledged that they were not illegal.
He, however, pointed out that the NNPC was fully in support of the ongoing process of reviewing the laws governing its operations, adding that it has commenced internal transformation ahead of the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, currently undergoing legislative processes at the National Assembly.
The NNPC boss’ denial came after the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, had directed the corporation to promptly pay the outstanding amount stated in the report.
The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives, Solomon Adeola, said as far as the House was concerned the report raised more questions than answers to the missing Nigerian money.
Mr. Adeola said the House needed to know the details of how out of $20billion, raised for investigation, NNPC was only indicted for $1.48billion.
He said Nigerians would want to know the details of what happened to the balance of $18.52billion in clear terms.
“One is not surprised that the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Dieziani Alison-Madueke, has quickly ordered payment of the acknowledged missing $1.48billion as this looks an easy way to bury the issue but Nigeria demands full accountability on this vexed issue,” he said.