Jonathan Orders Release Of Report On Alleged Missing $20bln

Jonathan on NNPC missing 20 billion dollarsPresident Goodluck Jonathan has order the immediate release to public the full report of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Forensic Audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) accounts in respect of the alleged missing $20 billion.

The President’s order was contained in a statement issued on Monday by his spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati.

According to the statement, the availability of the report to the public would make Nigerians properly informed on the matter.

President Jonathan’s decision is in line with Section 7(2) of the NNPC Act.

“President Jonathan is also deeply concerned by the continuing suggestions that his administration still has anything to hide about the unproven allegation that about $20 Billion is unaccounted for by the NNPC during his tenure,” the statement read.

Earlier, Nigeria’s President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, said his administration would revisit the allegation made by the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido, that about $20 billion oil revenue was not remitted into the federation account.

Alleged Last Minute Looting

President Jonathan’s order is coming after it was reported that the spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Lai Mohammed, alleged that officials of the Federal Government were engaged in “last minute looting of the nation’s resources, rushed privatisation of key institutions and hurried recruitment into the public service”.

Responding to the allegation in the statement, the presidency said: “We also consider as most unfortunate and uncharitable, the suggestion by Alhaji Mohammed that the Jonathan Administration is trying to “tie the hands” of the incoming government merely by continuing to discharge its constitutional responsibilities until the end of its tenure”.

The presidency further stated that Jonathan’s administration had continued to do its best to ensure a smooth and peaceful handover over of power to the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, saying it regrets “unfairness and combative frame of mind reflected in Mr Mohammed’s statement”.

“President Jonathan has done his best in the past five years to discharge his constitutional responsibilities for good governance and effective leadership of the nation.

“In continuing to fulfil the obligations of his office however, President Jonathan has not, and will never condone any form of unscrupulous conduct on the part of state officials” the statement read.

The statement further stressed that President Jonathan would “never authorise any attempt to create any problems for the incoming administration”.

Read the full statement: 

PRESIDENT JONATHAN ORDERS IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF REPORT OF FORENSIC AUDIT OF NNPC ACCOUNTS, DISMISSES ALLEGATION OF LAST MINUTE LOOTING, RUSHED PRIVATISATION AND HURRIED RECRUITMENT INTO FEDERAL PUBLIC SERVICE

We have noted with concern, the allegation by the spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed that officials of the Federal Government are engaged in “last minute looting of the nation’s resources, rushed privatization of key institutions and hurried recruitment into the public service”.

We also consider as most unfortunate and uncharitable, the suggestion by Alhaji Mohammed that the Jonathan Administration is trying to “tie the hands” of the incoming government merely by continuing to discharge its constitutional responsibilities until the end of its tenure.

The Jonathan Administration which continues to do its best to ensure a smooth and peaceful handover over of power to the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, deeply regrets the unfairness and combative frame of mind reflected in Alhaji Mohammed’s statement.

President Jonathan has done his best in the past five years to discharge his constitutional responsibilities for good governance and effective leadership of the nation.

Without any prejudice whatsoever to the freedom of the incoming administration to do as it pleases, within the confines of extant laws when it assumes office, the Jonathan Administration will continue to discharge its responsibility to govern until May 29, 2015.

In continuing to fulfil the obligations of his office however, President Jonathan has not, and will never condone any form of unscrupulous conduct on the part of state officials.

President Jonathan will also never authorise any attempt to create any problems for the incoming administration as the APC spokesperson, who ought to know that the outcome of the March 28 presidential elections does not imply a cessation of governance, unjustly alleges.

As Alhaji Mohammed threatened in his statement, the incoming administration will be perfectly within its rights to review all actions of the present government as it may deem fit.

We see nothing wrong with that. After all, the present Administration reviewed the actions of previous governments on assumption of office with resultant benefits for policy and project implementation.

President Jonathan is also deeply concerned by the continuing suggestions that his administration still has anything to hide about the unproven allegation that about $20 Billion is unaccounted for by the NNPC during his tenure.

To lay the matter to rest, President Jonathan in line with Section 7(2) of the NNPC Act, has directed that the full report of the PWC Forensic Audit of the NNPC accounts be released immediately to the public so that all Nigerians will be properly informed on the matter.

Reuben Abati
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 27, 2015

Jonathan Never Confirmed Withholding $10 Billion From Federation Account – Presidency

jonathan_gesticulationThe Presidency in Nigeria says reports in some domestic media on Tuesday, quoting President Goodluck Jonathan as “confirming” in Amsterdam that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) wrongly withheld $10 billion from the Federation Account  are completely false and a total distortion of the president’s comments during his meeting with the Nigerian community in the Netherlands.

In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesman for the President, Dr Reuben Abati, said that at no time during the well-attended reception did President Jonathan also confirm any “irregularities” in the NNPC.

He described sensational reports in the media to that effect as reckless, mischievous and unprofessional misrepresentations of the president’s restatement of the Federal Government’s position on the allegation that $20 billion was “missing” from the NNPC or the Federation Account, by reporters who were not at the event or even in Holland at all.

“President Jonathan’s verifiable words while responding to questions from members of the community on the allegation and other domestic issues were clear and unambiguous,” Abati stated.

He further emphasised that the president asserted that allegation that various sums – $49.8 billion, $12 billion or $20 billion – were missing were inconsistent and lacked credence.

At the meeting, President Jonathan reassured Nigerians of his administration’s continued commitment to openness, transparency and probity in the aftermath of the unsubstantiated allegations.

“The Federal Government has authorised a professional forensic audit of NNPC accounts to clear the air,” President Jonathan said.

The presidency further deplored the mischievous and unethical distortion of President Jonathan’s comments in the media and urged them to show greater regard for truth and accuracy when reporting on the president.

Jonathan Should Have Sacked Sanusi Long Ago – Mike Ozekhome

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, on Monday said President Goodluck Jonathan’s action against the suspended CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, was long overdue and should have been an outright sack.

Several arguments trailed the President’s decision to suspend the Governor without the required two-third vote from the Senate.

However, speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ozekhome argued that Jonathan followed due process under the law.

According to him, the power of the President to remove Sanusi is inherent in the power of an employer to suspend an employee and so it doesn’t even have to be written.

“The CBN Act simply talks about removal from office in Section 11(2F) but it did not dwell on the issue of suspension,” he said and stressed that suspension was a step towards removal or dismissal.

He commended counter arguments by some lawyers that “one of the legal principles of statutory interpretation is that whatever is not stated is excluded and since suspension was not specifically mentioned in the CBN Act, it means it was excluded.”

He, however, gave a counter argument saying “such argument forgets its sister principle of statutory interpretation that what is not forbidden or outlawed is allowed. In other words, if a law does not specifically say you cannot do this, it means you can do it.”

The lawyer went further to say that the suspended CBN governor, who was employed directly by the President under Section 8 of the CBN Act, failed in regards to the ethical and behavioural tendencies expected of him and that the autonomy of the institution was subject to the President’s leadership.

“Section 8 says it is the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that employed the CBN governor and the deputy governors” adding that “the CBN is autonomous to the extent that it reports to the President” he said.

Ozekhome further argued that the President had followed due procedure in removing Sanusi, as approval by the Senate should come after the deed had been done. “One comes before the other,” he said and maintained that; “dismissal takes place then you go to the Senate for confirmation.”

Ozekhome, who compared Sanusi to unpopular Governors in other countries of the world, said the position of the CBN governor was conservative and that he should not have criticised a government he worked for publicly. “A CBN Governor is supposed to be seen and rarely heard, if at all he should be heard.”

“If you must be a sentinel at the apex bank of Nigeria, like Caesars’ wife, you must be above board,” he said, insisting that “the right thing to do out of self-respect, character and dignity is to put in your letter of resignation” if he had differences with the system.

According to the senior lawyer, Sanusi’s criticism of the Federal Government led to disinvestment and the instability of the Naira. “That is why the Naira has been dancing a ‘yoyo dance’.”

He faulted Sanusi’s inconsistency in reeling out figures, insisting that it undermines the confidence in the economy and currency of the country. “As a CBN Governor he should be master of figures, he shouldn’t stumble because you are playing with figures in the realm of international politics.

“A CBN governor does not have to raise an alarm to the country. There are in-built mechanisms in any government.

“I don’t agree with you that when you work in a system, that the way to work in that system is to flip-flop with figures to the whole world which undermines the economy of that country,” he added.

FG Being Political By Claiming Sanusi’s Suspension Won’t Affect Economy – Analyst

An Economist, Dr Abiodun Adedipe, on Saturday said that the controversial suspension of the CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, is “a very critical issue for our economy” stressing that the manner in which the act was carried out will affect the economy and that the Federal Government’ s claim that it wouldn’t is merely a ‘political statement.’

Speaking on Sunrise (Saturday), Dr Adedipe said “Immediately that pronouncement was made, the exchange rate market began to react. Also the stock market started to react,” maintaining that macroeconomic indices began to move in adverse directions.

According to him “the major issue is new capital formation “which is simply new investment.” He added that “any investor, whether domestic or foreign, will naturally look at the development and say it is not the time for me to put in fresh money.”

“Ultimately, if we get back on track, that little space of time where we lost momentum willensure that the prospect for growth that the economy had at the beginning of the year will certainly fall short by the end of the year.”

He stressed that the position of the CBN Governor is very key to the financial industry and the national economy hence comments made by the person in the position are important and are key indicators of the direction of policy and response of the system to developments in the economic space.

“Whatever actions are taken or utterance made by such a person is a reflection of the data and information available to him.

The way the government deals with whoever is in that position becomes important and that is why in my opinion, the government has not handled it in a way that will help this economy.”

While speaking on the programme, Social Commentator, Biodun Sowunmi, said that, that the suspended CBN governor erred “may not necessarily be in doubt”

“The fact of the matter is that there are so many allegations made against Sanusi. Whether they are right or not, we don’t know because it has not been investigated.

However, “where people have problems now is not whether there are no issues, indictments against Sanusi. They are mere allegations which have not been investigated. The real issue is whether the president has the powers under the law to suspend Sanusi.”

He stressed that the president has a right to appoint, nominate while the Senate confirms. “That means the President is sharing that authority with Senate and when it comes to the issue of removal, it’s only under section 1F that made an explicit provision that you can only remove the governor of Central Bank if for instance the President recommends the removal and is backed by two-thirds of the Senate.”

He continued by saying “interestingly, there’s only one aspect of section 11 that made reference to removal. The section relating to that is section 11(1)(D), you can only be suspended from office if the professional body that he belongs to finds him guilty of one thing or the other.

“There’s no provision for suspension, there’s only provision for removal and you can only suspend somebody if he has been found guilty by his professional body. That is not the case.”

He attributed the suspension to the president’s desire to accelerate his transformation agenda.

Analysts List Faults In Sanusi’s 5 Year Tenure As CBN Governor

Legal practitioners, Liborous Oshomah and Kenneth Odidika on Saturday listed what they found wrong in Lamido Sanusi’s five year reign as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, while speaking on Channels Television’s Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise.

Oshomah, who was of the opinion that the government fell out of favour with Sanusi, argued that the suspended governor’s tenure was characterised by crisis and inconsistencies.

While praising the former CBN Governor, Charles Soludo, for managing challenges without raising alarms, Oshomah stressed that many of the decisions taken by Sanusi, while in office, were controversial.

He also mentioned the issue of the banking crisis which resulted in several banks folding up and thousands of workers being laid off, stressing that banks are still unable to recover from it.

While commenting on the controversies exposed by Sanusi including the 25% allocation of the national budget to the National Assembly, and the NNPC missing money, Oshomah said the suspended governor waited until the near end of his tenure to hit the government he is a part and parcel of.

“If you want to be a critic of the government, it is better to be out of that government,” he said.

On the inconsistency which trailed the figures released by the CBN as NNPC missing money, Oshomah asked why it took Sanusi so long to raise the alarm and faulted inconsistencies in the figures disclosed, adding that, calculations should have been done privately before going public.

“I think all of this should have been done underground so when you come out with your figures, people would solidly believe you, stand behind you and say that look this man knows what he’s talking about. But the way he went about it showed that all of a sudden the amount went from 49 to 10 billion.

10 billion is much, I agree, but for somebody at that level, I think once you speak we ought to believe.”

Speaking on the powers vested on the CBN governor, Oshomah said the apex bank is not a sovereign on its own and faulted Sanusi for acting as if the CBN was a country on its own and he the president.

On his part, Kenneth Odidika described Sanusi as a “very brilliant man who seemed not to appreciate the enormity of the responsibilities of the office he occupied.”

Odidika went ahead to label the suspended governor a ‘talkative’ whose good diction and spoken English and “musical voice” is mere theatrics ‘from Hollywood.’

“For a central bank governor to be in every forum, talking both about the economy and all things that are not related about the economy, that was unbecoming of Sanusi, as Central Bank Governor. I could go as far as saying that Sanusi was irresponsible in discharging or not discharging his responsibilities as central bank governor.”

Sanusi Suspension: Naira Records Worst 24 Hour Dip In 15 Years – Awoyemi

Femi Awoyemi

The CEO of Proshare Nigeria, Femi Awoyemi, on Friday disclosed that the Naira experienced its worst 24 hour dip in the past 15 years as a result of the sudden suspension of the Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi, by the President of the nation, Goodluck Jonathan.

“The Naira has fallen far lower than it has in 15 years, in one single day. That’s to tell you that this action has huge consequences,” he said.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Awoyemi linked the suspension, which he says “defies deep reasoning,”  to the on-going investigation into the NNPC’s activities, which started as a result of Sanusi’s whistle blowing.

“If it is the case of the timing, this is a poorly timed decision,” he said.

Also, Awoyemi stressed that “the focus on the person as against the institution was also rather very damaging.” “The CBN Governors’ role is far beyond what the individual, Lamido Sanusi is, so we must separate the two.”

He argued that “Lamido Sanusi, at the risk of contradiction, tends towards being a propagandist in terms of his vision as a solutions provider who chooses to want to take a definite stand in terms of how the role of Central Bank in the economy is ordered.”

Although some analysts have said that the suspension was expected as the CBN governor was supposedly working against the Goodluck Jonathan administration but Awoyemi opined that; “If the CBN governor was going to step down in March but the government needed to teach him a lesson, I think this is a very expensive lesson.”

On Sanusi’s intentions to challenge the Federal Government in court, Awoyemi said: “I think it would be a welcome development to see how that will go.”

“If the Central Bank governor is found to have done something wrong or has been discovered to do something wrong, what does the government do?”

He further described the suspension as shocking. “I cannot recall anywhere between section 5 and section 11 that gives a provision for suspension. I’m sure they would have acted under legal advice and the legal advice would have created some basis for their action hopefully.”

Mr Awoyemi said that the dip was a visible reaction of the international community to the suspension.

 

He further said: “The Federal Government thinks it will go away in a week or two but I can assure you it’s in the record books right now.”

He however cautioned that “this is not to say that those who are challenging this decision condone a situation where the Central Bank Governor would act with impunity. No, that is not the case.”

According to him, the Federal Government could have prevented the market crisis by following due process. “They can present the case to the Senate and say on the basis of the following allegations which have been substantiated by apparatus of government, that this gentleman needs therefore be removed.”

“We should be looking at how to deal with such situations and this whole process can help us in developing that.”

NNPC Missing Money: Focus On Key Issues, Not Drama – Awoyemi

Following the backlash which trailed CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, disclosing that the NNPC is owing $49.8 billion dollars, an amount which analysts have said is enough to cover the nation’s budget for three years, Economist Femi Awoyemi has cautioned Nigerians to focus on the key issues and not the controversial exchange between the two agencies.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Awoyemi stressed that the implication of the disagreements between the two agencies puts the Nigerian economy at stake as well as the integrity of those who occupy offices.

“Sometime in June/July 2013, CBN had the pre-shipment inspection documents and found out that about 600 million barrels of oil had been shipped out, and from his records he would have expected about 65.3 billion dollars but what he got in was about 15 billion dollars.

“Normally, when you have such discrepancies there would be an exchange between the CBN, NNPC and thereafter with the Ministry of Finance.

“If this had been done and they did not get any answer, it is consistent therefore for Central Bank to then escalate the matter. My own interpretation would be that, it was therefore escalated by writing to the president.”

The economist who adjudged the CBN governor’s move as right because all the agencies report to the president, said that all agencies involved should have been summoned by the President considering the amount of money alleged to be missing, which is up to the nation’s budget for 2 years.

“If the figures were true, we are talking about Nigeria’s budget for two years aggregated together,” he said.

“The letter finding its way into the public domain should trigger a sense of responsibility knowing well that it has a huge impact on Nigeria’s economy, financial standing and rating especially to the global society,” Awoyemi said.

Awoyemi said the proper action would have been for authorities to clear the air and allay fears but “since we are in a system where we trust each other less, it took a political undertone.”

Despite the severity of the crisis at hand, many have said there is a disconnection between the two agencies which can create suspicion in the minds of the people.

Reacting to NNPC’s claim that the CBN is ignorant of the structures by which it remits revenue to the Federation Account, Mr Awoyemi said:

“If the Central Bank of Nigeria does not therefore understand the way and manner in which the NNPC is structuring its businesses or enough to understand what it is expecting in the Federation Account or how those monies get back to it, then that’s a key issue Nigerians should be interested in knowing.”

“It is a discrepancy more in processes and understanding of how affairs are conducted,” he added.

 

Missing Money: NNPC/CBN Should Not Have Gone Public – Ojomu

The Former Acting National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Bode Ojomu, on Wednesday blamed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria for not resolving their differences privately.

Mr Bode Ojomu stressed that the NNPC and CBN’s ‘tantrum’  would cause the public to lose their trust in government.

Commenting on the controversial letter by the CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, alleging that $49.8 billion was unremitted to the Federation Account funds, on Sunrise Daily, Mr Ojomu said the two agencies had not been able to live up to their responsibilities as managers of the various institutions of government.

“People have not been able to live up to their responsibilities as managers of the various institutions of government which we suppose to strengthen for basic deliveries for the essence for which government was established in the first place,” he said.

Mr Ojomu insisted that issues which could be resolved internally should be kept away from public domain for the sake of unity and for government to be regarded as responsible by the public.

“There was no need to write a letter which has the capability of entering the public domain.

“There are enough platforms which are called internal mechanisms within the framework of government for both NNPC and CBN to have resolved the tantrum,” he said.

He advised that government agencies such as the CBN “must neither stir controversy nor be in controversy.” He added that the Sanusi Lamido era of the CBN had been embroiled in too much controversy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NNPC Missing Money Is One Reason For Economic Stagnation – Peterside

The Chairman House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream),  Dakuku Peterside, on Wednesday said that the missing $49.8 billion is a major example of issues which have caused the nation’s economic setback.

According to him, the said the amount is equivalent to three years budget.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Peterside welcomed the backlash the CBN letter generated, as the issue of inconsistencies in NNPC’s accounts did not get the deserved attention until Sanusi Lamido wrote a letter to the President.

“For the first time, an authority of government is beginning to question the opaque transactions of the NNPC,” he said.

He referred to questions raised by NEITI on the activities of the petroleum agency.

“You will also recall that in past, the national assembly of Nigeria which is constitutionally empowered to expose corruption, wastage and leakages had  raised issues about unremitted funds by the NNPC.

“You’ll recall that not too long ago, the Nigeria Governor’s Forum raised issues about the opaque conduct of its (NNPC) business which is indeed the cooperation of government manning the oil and gas sector.

“If the CBN letter has achieved nothing else, for once, it had called to question the way NNPC conducts its business and at the highest level of government,” he said, adding that the controversy has raised awareness amongst Nigerians that there are questions to be asked and that there’s need to pay more attention to how NNPC conducts its business on our behalf.”

He further attributed the stagnation of the nation’s economic development to the missing $49.8 billion, which he said is the equivalent of three years budget.

You can understand why other countries that were at the same point where we were in 1960 have made a lot of economic progress than us, he said, crediting the growth to the better management of their economic resources.

Reacting to the NNPC’s response to the CBN, accusing the apex bank of playing politics via its letter to the president, Mr Peterside argued that the oil sector accounts for 80% of the nation’s revenue “therefore, all of us must be interested in what’s going on.”

Discrepancies in oil revenue affect the budget and determine the economic development of the country

He also questioned NNPC’s defence regarding the issues raised by the NNPC.

“Can we earn more from petroleum profit tax and related taxes than we earn from the sale of crude oil itself?, he asked, adding that “is it possible that CBN (the banker to government as well as the NNPC and chief economic adviser to the nation) does not have basic statistics on the volume of crude oil exported out of the country on a daily, monthly and yearly basis?”

The NNPC had denied owing the Federation Account the said amount of money because it is only responsible for paying revenue made from equity crude, one of the five streams through which the CBN receives monies from crude oil transactions.