13 December 2014, Abuja – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has responded strongly to the allegation of fraud levelled against it by former Head of State and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), saying such claims were untrue.
The Corporation, in a statement by its Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Ohi Alegbe, on Friday in Abuja, described Buhari’s allegation as “political mischief”.
It further stated that if by making the allegation in his acceptance speech at the just concluded convention, Buhari wanted the Nigerian public to believe what he had said, then it might as well be good for him to concede that the allegation of a missing $2.8 billion oil money against the NNPC under his watch as minister of petroleum was true.
NNPC said that coming from a former petroleum minister under whose watch a similar allegation of fraud was made, Buhari’s statement smacks of political mischief as he should know better than to peddle “beer palour gossip as facts.”
Said NNPC: “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.
“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.
“In the past one year alone, the corporation 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?.”
The statement continued: “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 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?”
It therefore asked the Nigerian public to discountenance the allegation as there was no iota of truth in it.
– This Day