14 March 2014, Abuja – The Senate Committee on Finance investigating alleged non- remittance of $49.8billion by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC says it has appointed independent auditors to conduct forensic examination of the volume of expenses incurred by the state-run oil firm.
Its Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi disclosed this at the resumed session of the committee in Abuja.
The appointment of the auditors nowithstanding, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu has insisted that no money is missing from the coffers of the corporation.
But Makarfi said the engagement of the independent consultants became necessary to enable the committee get to the root of the controversial matter.
He siad the findings of the consultants would also enable the committee to form its opinion on the alleged missing money.
Makarfi said: “The committee appointed independent consultants to do forensic examination and audit on the volume of expenses you incurred.
“We expect their report by the end of next week. And their independent report is what will make us form an opinion on the expenses and losses totaling about $2.1 billion based on your submission.
“The other issue which we don’t have to wait before we make our report is the Auditor-General of the Federation who has written formally to the committee confirming he is conducting forensic checks and that the forensic check comprehensively covers our areas of concern and that he is going to send the report of the forensic check or audit to us.
“It would not stop us from making our report subject to whatever he may present to the National Assembly. He would make a report directly to the National Assembly on this.
“In respect of unremitted revenue, we have received virtually all that we need to receive. Report of our own independent forensic auditors on the expenses and other losses totaling $2.1 billion and final certification from PPPRA from July to December 2013 on subsidy.”
“That is what will make us finalise our work and make our report to the Senate.
“That would be the last issue that needs to be publicly submitted to us. We don’t want to submit it in our offices. We want to submit it in the presence of everybody so that we know what the figure from July to December is so that when we make our report, it would be on the basis of what the public is already aware of, as presented by the agencies.”
The GMD however insisted that no money is missing, saying the monies that accrue from crude oil liftings are shared 60/40 per cent by the Federal Government and the Joint Venture (JV) partners.
Yakubu said: “We have given a detailed account, no money is missing, each business is governed by a different business arrangement, if you do not trace it to the business arrangement and the governance structure, you will not understand.
“Now you heard we had under-lifting and reconciliation are held quarterly. When you reconcile, you will be able to balance your books and come up with the true position of things.
“I am saying it is too hasty for people to say that money is missing and apportion such a large amount. You have seen how we have broken them down to the various business arrangement and how monies are accounted for in various arrangements. The fact that money is not seen in the Federation Account does not mean the money did not go to other beneficiaries.”
He appealed to the media to save the image of the as reports on the alleged missing funds are capable of stifling Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria.
*Onyedi Ojiabor & Sanni Onogu – Nation