07 February 2014, Lagos – A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has called for a proper auditing of the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation following allegations by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, that the corporation has failed to account for $20bn oil proceeds.
In an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Thursday, Falana said, “The allegations are worrisome for a country that wants to be taken seriously at home and abroad.
“It is embarrassing that those put in charge of the economy, either out of ignorance or mischief, do not appear competent to manage the responsibilities of their offices.”
Recalling that Sanusi had recanted his earlier statement that the NNPC failed to remit $49.8bn to the Federation Account between 2012 and July last year, the human rights activist asked the CBN governor to always reconcile his figures before releasing same to the public.
“It is absolutely irresponsible of the governor of a central bank, even in a banana republic, to come out and allege the disappearance of the colossal sum of $49.8bn, and as soon as he was challenged, the figure was reduced to $12bn with an apology, only for him to wake up two days ago to say sorry the figure is $20bn,” Falana said.
He, however, said it was not sufficient for the NNPC to suggest that Sanusi should not be taken seriously, but that the true position of the corporation’s accounts must be disclosed.
He said, “As far as I am concerned, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy has no powers under the law to reconcile accounts.
“It is the constitutional duty of the Auditor-General of the Federation to audit the accounts of the Federal Government and its Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“The auditor-general should, as a matter of urgency, look into these figures and come out with the correct position of the Federation Account.”
Meanwhile, Vice-President Namadi Sambo on Thursday absolved himself of any blame in the case of the alleged $20bn missing from the Federation Account.
Sambo, who spoke through his media aide, Mr. Umar Sani, was reacting to a statement by the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, that the non-convocation of the National Economic Council meeting was partly responsible for the crisis between the NNPC and the CBN over the alleged non-remittance of revenue from the sale of crude oil to the Federation Account.
– The Punch