30 May 2014, Abuja – Contrary to media reports purporting to suggest that the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have been absolved of any blame concerning the unaccounted for oil fund, former governors of Kaduna and Kwara States, Ahmed Makarfi and Bukola Saraki, have said the report of the Senate Finance Committee actually indicted the minister and the oil corporation.
The submitted report had stated that neither the $48.9 billion nor $20 billion belonging to the federal government was missing, as alleged by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
Makarfi, who spoke in an interview with journalists in Kaduna, said it would be too hasty to conclude that the report of his committee would be the final one on the controversies surrounding the unaccounted for funds because certain recommendations in the report are interim.
According to the former Kaduna governor, since there is an ongoing forensic audit on the issue, it was proper to wait for its outcome.
“I will not want to say our report is the final report because certain recommendations in the report are interim. There is an ongoing forensic audit and we said that will be subject to the outcome of the forensic audit.
“Where there was dispute was between the figure of $20 billion and $10.8 billion. Even that dispute was not that it was really missing. What has been done with that money? Nobody said at that time that the money was missing.
“A party alleged that it was not remitted to the federation account. If it was not remitted to the federation account, it can be hanging in one account or the other.
“We were to find out where that money was. We took the larger figure of $20 billion, not the other figure of $10.8 billion and let’s see what happened to the money.
“Out of that $20 billion, over $5 billion was spent on petrol payments. We tried to find out whether that money was appropriated, we checked the budgets of the relevant years and we found out that the National Assembly appropriated the money and it was expended. So if the National Assembly appropriated the money for it to be expended, you cannot talk of money missing,” he said.
On his part, Saraki, who is also the vice-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, faulted media reports, claiming that the committee had cleared NNPC of any unaccounted for revenue fund.
Saraki made the clarification in a statement issued by his special assistant on media, Mr Bankole Omishore, in Ilorin yesterday.
“Though I could not attend the last meeting of the committee, I have been very active in the investigation, nothing significant has changed to suggest clearing anybody.
“I can say on behalf of the committee that these media reports bear no correlation to the content of the Senate committee report and I would urge the public to disregard it in its entirety.
“The committee is yet to receive the report on the forensic audit and independent analysis on the subject clearly indicate we have a lot of grounds to cover in order to determine the level of culpability or otherwise of the agency on the alleged non-committal, so to suggest any clearance for anybody at this stage is out of the question.
“I will further advise that the media should wait for the Senate to release the details of the committee report to the public before they jump into spurious conclusions,” he said.
The committee’s report had however said the NNPC has to remit $262 million to the federation account, while maintaining that the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Petroeluem Resources had reconciled $47 billion of the unaccounted for revenue, which it said had been remitted into the federation account.
The report had further wondered how Sanusi arrived at the figures he alleged to be unremitted. The report had however indicted the Ministry of Finance, CBN and the NNPC for what it described as lack of coordination in record keeping as it concerns remitting crude oil proceeds.