15 March 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Samuel Ukura, has disclosed on Monday that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) failed to remit over N3.2 trillion ($16.1 billion) to the public purse in 2014.
Ukura, who presented his findings in a report to a Committee of the House of the National Assembly, in Abuja, said other government ministries and agencies had failed to remit funds which took the total figure not passed on to N3.3 trillion for that year.
Recall that the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was suspended in the same year after making similar claims.
Sanusi was suspended after accusing the NNPC of failing to pay $20 billion into government accounts between January 2012 and July 2013.
Constitutionally, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) must hand over its oil revenue – which makes up about 70 percent of total income – and money is then paid back based on a budget approved by parliament.
Nigeria is going through its worst economic crisis for years due to tumbling crude prices. Buhari has said mind-boggling amounts of oil money were stolen, leaving state coffers virtually empty when he came to power and deepening the crisis.
The report by Auditor-General stated that the findings were based on an “examination of NNPC mandates to CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) on Domestic Crude Oil Sales and Reconciliation Statement of Technical Sub-committee of Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting held in January 2014.”
According to him, the total amount not remitted to FAAC was N3,234,577,666,791.35.
Furthermore, gas export sales worth $346 million were said to have been paid to the government but “no statements or documents were made available to confirm the receipts”, the report said.
A spokesman at NNPC said he was unable to comment, adding that he needed more time to review the Auditor-Generals report.
According to the latest figures on OPEC’s website, Nigeria’s oil exports are worth about $77 billion a year.
Although the constitution requires NNPC to hand over its oil revenue, the act establishing the state oil company allows it to cover costs before remitting funds to the government.
President Buhari, who sacked senior NNPC managers just weeks after his inauguration, has approved splitting the company into upstream, downstream, gas power marketing, refinery groups, and ventures divisions in an attempt to improve transparency.