Oscarline Onwuemenyi 03 January 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – President Goodluck Jonathan has given the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federal one week to review and release to the public the report of the forensic audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Jonathan, who said this after receiving the report from the auditing firm, PriceWaterHouse, at the State House in Abuja, said there need to make a full disclosure of the report in order to dispel any controversy, some of which he described as “ridiculous.”
The Federal government had in March, 2014, hired the accounting firm, PriceWaterHouse, to carry out the exercise following allegations by the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi (now the Emir of Kano), that $20bn was not remitted to the Federation Account by the NNPC.
The Nigeria Country Senior Partner of PriceWaterHouse, Uyi Akpata, on Monday presented the report to the President on behalf of the firm, saying, “It is a privilege for us to have carried out this exercise on behalf of the government and I hope that you will find this report useful.”
Akpata did not give any insight into the forensic report.
In accepting the report, however, Jonathan noted that the media and indeed Nigeria would be interested in the findings.
To this end, he directed the Auditor-General of the Federation to study the report and make the key highlights public within the week.
“There has been so much of controversy over this NNPC and leakages or no leakages. I remember the Senate has also looked into it; it is also good that you professionals have also looked into it.
“What appears in the papers and the speculation is also very high, the figures that I cannot even imagine the country will make are being bandied in the newspapers.
“So, I am quite pleased that you have undertaken the forensic audit. Though it is voluminous, I will give it to the professionals.
“In government work, there are people that have the statutory responsibilities to handle such assignment, which is the Auditor-General of the Federation.
“So the Auditor-General will look at it and within the week, let us have key highlights because the media will want to know the key findings vis-a-vis the Senate’s findings and figures being bandied around in the newspapers. Nigerians are interested,” he said.
The President admitted that the nation’s petroleum sector needed to be reformed.
He expressed the hope that most of the lapses being noticed in the sector would be corrected by the time the Petroleum Industry Bill was passed into law.
While promising to handle the report decisively, Jonathan expressed the belief that the forensic report would help the nation move forward.
The President said, “Nigerians don’t need to be scared, this is something that Nigerians are interested in. They (the audit firm) wanted to submit an interim report, but I said no, they must conclude this matter, because it is a forensic audit and there is no room for interim report so they must go back and conclude it and luckily they have concluded it.
“I hope we will not call them back, but where need be, we will call them back if there are issues that are not so clear, but we are happy with what we have done so far.
“I assure you that this is a precious document that the Accountant-General will keep and I will have my own copy, because even if I leave office, maybe when I write my memoir, I will use some part of it.
“But the kind of figure people bandy in the papers look so ridiculous.”