13 March 2014, News Wires – Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has authorised a forensic audit of the national energy company after weeks of public uproar over an alleged $20 billion in missing state revenues, according to a report.
Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi presented evidence last month to parliament that he said showed the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) failed to remit $20 billion that it owed to federal government coffers, Reuters reported.
NNPC has repeatedly denied Sanusi’s allegations, according to the news wire.
Sanusi was suspended by Jonathan days later for what he said was unrelated “financial recklessness” and “gross misconduct” at the central bank, although government sources and a wide spectrum of the public believe his removal was politically motivated.
Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and a Senate committee investigating the graft allegations have both called for a forensic audit of NNPC since Sanusi presented evidence.
Jonathan’s opponents say the suspension of Sanusi shows he is soft on corruption, a year ahead of what is expected to be the most closely fought presidential election since Nigeria ended military rule in 1998.
“The Presidency wishes to reaffirm that Mallam Sanusi’s suspension has absolutely nothing to do with his unproven and inconsistent claim,” the presidency said, referring to Sanusi by the title Mallam, given to learned Muslims.
“Mallam Sanusi’s allegations are patently untrue. But Government is making no effort to bury them as he falsely claims,” the statement said, adding that “reputable international firms” would carry out the audit.