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Missing $20billion: Okonjo-Iweala Wants Forensic Audit

Missing $20billion: Okonjo-Iweala Wants Forensic Audit

| On 14, Feb 2014

Soon, very soon, the wind shall blow and the hidden rump of the fowl shall be revealed. This best captures what would soon evolve in the on-going ding-dong over missing money in the NNPC as the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has called for independent forensic audit to resolve the puzzle over unremitted funds to the CBN.

Okonjo-Iweala made the call at the Senate Committee on Finance hearing on the alleged missing 20 billion dollars.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Deizani Alison-Madueke, was also at the hearing.

Also at the hearing were NNPC Group Managing Director, Mr Andrew Yakubu, and CBN Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi.

“Let us now focus on the original 10. 8 billion dollars which was the shortfall we had as at July 2013.

“Another reconciliation meeting was held at which NNPC presented data of how they utilised the balance of 10. 8 billion.

“This includes amount withheld for subsidy $8. 76 billion , holding cost of strategic reserve 0. 4599 billion and pipeline crude oil and product losses of 0. 761 billion.

“There was also pipeline management at the cost of 0. 905 billion dollars,” she said.

According to her, the data presented are all certified by Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.

She said the reconciliation committees called for backup documents to enable it verify the certified papers.

“Our judgment is that a proper examination of these documents requires technical expertise beyond the capacity of the reconciliation team.

“Therefore, we believe we should have an independent forensic audit to manage these submissions,” she said.

She said that the 20 billion dollars alleged by the CBN as missing featured in the original reconciliation effort in the cascade presented by NNPC.

She said that the committee agreed that the issues surrounding the alleged fund was legal and required careful legal interpretation.

Earlier, the chairman of the committee, Ahmed Makarafi, had charged reconciliation group to carry out the forensic audit and get back to the committee in one month.

He said that the committee would reconvene on Feb. 20 to enable the Attorney General of Federation to give a legal advice on the issue.

Nigeria Political Economist