Muhammadu Buhari, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation are trading words over the former’s allegation that the corporation is keeping double accounts
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Dec. 29, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE last has not been heard about the allegations that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is keeping a double account. While the corporation came out with a strong statement denying the allegation, the Buhari Campaign organisation has challenged it to publish its account for the past five years. NNPC at the weekend refuted the allegation of fraud levelled against it by Muhammadu Buhari, former head of state and presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC. The corporation, in a statement made available to Realnews, described Buhari’s allegation as a political mischief and expressed disappointment that such allegation was coming from a former minister of petroleum resource, under whose watch a similar allegation of fraud was made.
“It is sad that General Buhari, one of the founding fathers of the NNPC, who himself has tasted of the virulent but false allegations deliberately concocted to cast the corporation and the public sector management of the nation’s oil and gas industry in bad light, would be the one to allege that NNPC runs two sets of account books ‘one for public consumption and another for insiders. We consider General Buhari’s allegation in bad taste as it is nothing but a deliberate political mischief calculated to cast the corporation in opprobrium all in a bid to shore up his political capital,” NNPC said.
The document which was signed by Ohi Alegbe, group general manager, group public affairs, NNPC said: “We find it difficult to understand how a former head of state who has also served as minister of petroleum resources could believe that NNPC keeps two sets of account books to perpetrate fraud, knowing that NNPC is the most audited and scrutinised agency in the country.” According to him, in the past one year alone, NNPC has had its books scrutinised and audited by the Senate Committee on Finance and an external auditor, PriceWaterhouseCooper, PWC. “Is it possible for the accounting discrepancies insinuated by General Buhari to escape the attention of such internationally acclaimed auditors? And in any case, why would an alleged fraudulent Corporation keep two sets of accounting books knowing that such could be used as evidence against it? he asked.
“We hereby state emphatically that NNPC neither keeps two sets of account books nor is aware of the existence of such as the Corporation is run in line with international best practice. If General Buhari believes that such false information that are usually the subject of beer parlour gossip was true, would he rather that the Nigerian public believe that the allegation of missing $2.8 billion oil money against the NNPC under his watch as minister of petroleum was true? The corporation, therefore, called on members of the public to discountenance the allegation as there is no iota of truth in it,” he said.
But Buhari insisted on its allegation, challenging the corporation to publish its accounts for the last five years to convince Nigerians that it was not maintaining double accounts. He berated the management corporation for saying that his position to the effect that the NNPC maintains two accounts was a beer parlour gossip. The APC presidential candidate through Ibrahim Bello Dauda, one of the directors of his campaign organisation, said only the ministry of finance could contradict his position. Dauda made it clear that Buhari was not used to making careless comments, stressing that he meant every word he said concerning the NNPC accounts.
Buhari had in his acceptance speech as APC presidential candidate, said he will fight corruption in the country if elected. “On corruption, my government will enhance EFCC’s powers to investigate independently. Moreover, we intend to plug the holes in NNPC accounting. There will no longer be two sets of books, one for public consumption and another for insiders who profit from this slick fraud. In an APC government, the public will know how much NNPC makes and where all the money goes. No longer shall illegal flows of massive sums leave these shores to finance other economies,” he said.