29 December 2014, Abuja – The All Progressives Congress, APC, has alleged that the PDP-led Federal Government is trying to suppress the audit report on the $20 billion oil money.
The party said the deadline for the release of the report, which was set by the government itself, has come and gone but without any pronouncement by the government.
It said the Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala herself had said, at the Financial Times Africa Summit 2014 in London in October, that the report would be ready in November 2014.
Former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had alleged that $20 billion was missing from the proceeds of Nigeria’s crude oil sales between January 2012 and July 2013.
In a statement issued on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party demanded that the audit report be made public, in the interest of transparency.
It quoted the Minister as saying at the Forum on October 6, 2014: “We engaged PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) with the Auditor General of the Federation taking the lead. They asked for 16 weeks to complete the work; they have spent 11 or 12 weeks so far and they will be done in a couple of weeks.”
APC said adding the remaining four weeks for the conclusion of the report, as requested by the auditors, meant that it should have been ready by latest November 7.
“It is now over a month since the deadline for the release of the report expired, and the government has simply kept mum on the report, apparently in an effort to sweep the issue under the carpet, as it has done with all other reports of widespread corruption under the present dispensation.
“However, Nigerians will not allow this to happen. They will continue to demand that the audit report be made public, in the interest of transparency. We also believe that the Minister of Finance should strive to protect whatever is left of her international reputation by living up to her words that the issue will not be swept under the carpet. It is not only Nigerians but the entire international community who are interested in the outcome of the audit.
“If there is any reason why the report has not been released, the Minister should immediately come out and tell Nigerians. Otherwise, she should release the report today so that Nigerians will know exactly how much of their oil funds is missing and those to be held responsible for the unprecedented heist,” the party said.
APC said it refuses to believe the stories making the rounds to the effect that the FG is deliberately sitting on the report because it (report) has heavily indicted it and some powerful personalities in the Administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
It said the urgent release of the report would also end the rumour that the money is the source of the huge slush funds being used for President Jonathan’s re-election, as well as the speculation that it was the same money that formed the source of the huge funds that were round-tripped to the Jonathan campaign fund during his recent fund raising.
“We are therefore joining the millions of Nigerians who have demanded the urgent release of the audit report. Failure to do so before the end of the year will leave Nigerians with no choice than to conclude that the FG is indeed hiding something about the $20 billion, a conclusion that will indeed be more than justified,'” APC said.
THISDAY had earlier reported the response of the Finance Minister to Edo Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s allegation that about $30 billion was missing from the Excess Crude Account. In her response, which was contained in a release issued by the minister’s aide, Paul Nwabiukwu, Oshiomhole’s allegation was described as untrue, shocking and political.
*Onyebuchi Ezigbo – Thisday