The All Progressive Congress wants the federal government to publish the report of the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ forensic audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. But Diezani Alison-Madueke says she is ready to make it public
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Mar. 9, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, APCPCO, has challenged President Goodluck Jonathan, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to publish the forensic audit report of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, submitted by the PricewaterhouseCooper, PwC. The group said President Jonathan should live up to his flaunted belief in the rule of law and due process, public probity and accountability, by acceding to the request of the National Assembly to submit the forensic audit report from PwC on the missing $20 billion and go ahead to publish same in mainstream newspapers for Nigerians to assess or query the degree of transparency involved in the controversial transaction.
The group in a statement signed by Garba Shehu, director of media and publicity, APCPCO, said why should the president and the PDP develop the feet of clay like an immovable Colossus when the representatives of the people in the National Assembly asked for copies of the forensic audit report, which public outcry forced the government to procure in the first place.
“So many respected experts on the national economy have condemned the wanton waste of the country’s hard currency earnings at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. Worse still, those in charge have treated Nigerians with impunity by hiding the facts relating to petro-dollar trade from the taxpayers. Some of them have been gallivanting and globe-trotting around the world in luxury while their compatriots languish in poverty and squalor,” he said.
The APCPCO spokesman questioned the audacity of the president, PDP and NNPC in disobeying the NASS request to scrutinise the PWC audit of an alleged grossly corrupt government agency. “Is the NNPC a sacred cow? And should the president be an umpire in a game to which he’s a contender, or a judge in his own case? Is the president and his petroleum minister telling Nigerians that no wrong has been done in terms of stealing of public funds? If corruption was established in any form, is anyone listed for punishment? It is pertinent to put all these information in the public domain for third party verification. The KPMG report funded by taxpayer’s money is itself a public property. And until this is done, the NNPC under President Jonathan shall remain in public consciousness the abattoir for corruption, immodesty, dishonesty and impunity.”
But Diezani Alison-Madueke, minister of petroleum resources, has defended the accounting system of the corporation declaring that she was satisfied with the level of transparency of the records in the organisation. According to her, it took a lot of determination on her part for the NNPC to even get to this stage and to open itself up to the sort of forensic audit that was conducted as well. She noted that, “All in all, I am on one hand pleased that PWC has finished the in depth audit they did. On the other hand, I am very disappointed.”
She said her disappointment stems from the fact that fellow Nigerians had painted the NNPC with the image of deeply corrupt organisation even though the NNPC had not been as transparent as it is now in the last 25 years. Alison-Madueke who expressed readiness to publish the entire forensic report blamed the current distrust of the NNPC on the many years of non-disclosure and obscure operating procedures recorded in activities in the oil and gas sector.
According to her, “I have said it clearly, over and over that years of non-transparency and opaqueness in the running of the oil and gas sector in this country, and I’m talking about over the last 25 years or so, have of course created some lapses in procedures and processes which various reforms must come into being to take effect and correct. There are no other ways.”
The highlights of the forensic audit report released on Thursday, February 5, by Samuel Ukura, auditor-general of the federation, had indicated that the allegation of unremitted $49.8 billion, $10.8 billion or $20 billion was not true. The report stated that the total amount that accrued from crude oil lifting was $67 billion out of which a total of $50.81 billion was remitted into the federation account.
The balance, the report noted was used for petrol and kerosene subsidies and NNPC operations expenses. It also directed the NNPC to remit the sum of $1.48 billion, which the report said was unremitted NPDC signature bonus from divested assets and taxes/royalties.