As Jonathan goes in search of missing $20b


Saturday, March 15, 2014
Posted in: Cartoons, Man in the News
By Chukwudi Nweje – Assistant Features Editor

At last, President Goodluck Jonathan has taken steps to live up to his words. Late in February, the President had vowed that there would be no cover up for those behind the alleged missing $20b earnings from the sale of crude oil which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) allegedly did not remit into the Federation Account. The President who spoke during a Presidential Media Chat broadcast live on various radio and television stations across the country had made it clear that any missing funds from the NNPC treasury must be accounted for and that those found guilty would be exposed. President Jonathan had to give the assurance following allegations that he had suspended Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Governor Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for exposing the alleged financial misdeeds of the NNPC.

The NNPC manages Nigeria’s oil industry, which also happened to be the mainstay of the country’s economy. There have been series of allegations of widespread corruption in the corporation. Thus when Sanusi’s letter to the President alleging that the NNPC failed to remit $49.8b oil revenue into the Federation Account between January 2012 and July 2013 was leaked to the Press, the public believed it.

The figure has fluctuate, coming down to $18b, $10b, $2b before again going back up to $20b. Incidentally, the missing funds were still generating much controversy when the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) report equally indicted Sanusi of financial misdeeds in his running of the CBN. Thus, Sanusi alleges that his decision to expose corruption in the management of oil revenue led to his travails.

The President had taken time to explain that Sanusi suspension was not in any way connected to exposing the alleged missing funds and that he remained the substantive CBN governor but is on suspension pending the investigation of allegations brought against him by the FRCN.

The true state of the NNPC accounts will however be laid bare soon. The Presidency on Wednesday announced the engagement of reputable international firms to carry out the forensic audit of the accounts of the NNPC though it did not give details of the firms.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati while berating the suspended CBN governor for choosing to whip up public sympathy for himself and anger against the Federal Government by deliberately misleading unwary Nigerians and the international community into believing the falsehood that he is being punished for exposing corruption…” rather than answer the query issued to him.

The statement added that: “in keeping with its avowed commitment to full transparency, openness and accountability in governmental affairs, the Federal Government has authorised the engagement of reputable international firms for the recommended forensic audit of the NNPC accounts.”

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) welcomes the decision for forensic audit of the NNPC accounts.
Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman of the coalition said “it is a known fact that NNPC has been a drain pipe to the coffers of this country. This audit will not only unearth the whereabouts of the missing $20b, but will also make transparent, the accounts of the NNPC and other government agencies. It is a good thing that independent bodies are going to find out what happened to the missing money and even digging into the books of the NNPC and her sister agencies.”

He added that “Nigerians are sceptical about what will be the fate of the audit report because the account of NNPC has been audited in the past and all indicted NNPC of inefficiency and monumental corruption. The KPMG report on NNPC carried out in 2010, the 2012 Nuhu Ribadu Report on NNPC, the Berne Declaration Report, all indicted the NNPC of massive corruption and sharp practices and nothing has been done to those indicted in the probes.

“If the Federal Government is serious about the audit, the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and others fingered in the previous probes should be asked to step aside if government wanted a successful forensic audit. For any successful audit to be carried out, the Petroleum Minister and others that are suspects should step aside. Otherwise, the audit will just be efforts in futility as those auditors may be compromised at the end of the day,” Adeniran argued.


Culled from Daily Independent



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