Senate Hearing: Okonjo-Iweala Recommends Independent Audit On NNPC Missing Funds

The Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has told members of the Senate Committee on Finance to go a step further by inviting independent auditors to look at the books of the Ministry of Finance as regards remittances made by the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission, NNPC.

This is in view of the lingering controversies surrounding the alleged 10.8 billion dollars missing NNPC funds.

The Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was speaking at the investigative hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance, into the alleged missing $20 billion oil money.

In her testimony, she said, “The budget under the control of the Ministry of Finance is laid out transparently online and has been accessible to all Nigerians and they have been criticizing it. Even though it’s difficult for us, we are proud of it because it means they have information to criticize us with.

“Under those circumstances people say the finances of the country are in a mess, we do not think that is the case on that particular point.

“What is being said here is being made to look like in this country, there has been no accountability, and that is not the case. For two steady years, Federal Allocation after Federal Allocation Committee meeting, the Ministry of Finance chairs a process that reconciles these accounts, and every single Commissioner of Finance in this country has a folder that shows exactly what we’ve done. So the Ministry of Finance is doing its job.

“It is because of that reconciliation that we came to the amount of 10.8billion that everybody is now talking about. When the Central Bank mentioned 49.8billion, we were the first to say we did not think this amount is correct and you can ask the CBN Governor, he is right here.

“After we had done that work, it was proven that 49.8billion is not the right amount and he had the courage to accept that. Without the steady work we have done to account for the resources of this country, we will not be talking about 10.8billion.”

Referring to an earlier comment by a member of the committee, she said, “We have said we want an independent audit in addition; it is precisely because of what the distinguished Senator is saying that we want this independent audit these extraordinary times. A lot of accusations are being made in this country and the only way Nigerians are going to be satisfied is to have an independent opinion on these amounts.”

Senate Hearing: No 10.87billion Dollars Is Seated In NNPC – Group GMD

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu

The Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala have been giving testimonies at the investigative hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance, into the alleged missing $20 billion oil money.

Mr Sanusi told the hearing that regardless of the explanations from the Finance Minister, as far as the CBN was concerned, there is an outstanding $20 billion between what NNPC shipped and what it paid to Government.

Mr Sanusi insisted that the outstanding 6 billion Dollars given to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) should have gone to the Federal Government and that the CBN received 3 legal opinions on that matter while offering to bring lawyers to defend that claim.

The Finance Minister, Okonjo Iweala, however said that the NNPC supplied documents from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulation Agency, PPPRA, showing how the initial outstanding 10.8 billion dollars was spent.

The Group GMD of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, who was also at the hearing, however, stuck to his gun, insisting that the state oil company was not in custody of the amount as claimed by the CBN Governor.

“You will recall that we started from 49.8 billion dollars, and after the interagency reconciliation in December, we came down to 10.87, and this was classified as non-remitted funds. The impression all over the place is that 10.87billion dollars is seated in the four towers of NNPC and my staff and myself have been portrayed in very bad light.

“For emphasis I want to tell all Nigerians, that no 10.87billion dollars is seated in NNPC or anywhere within our control.

“The 10.87billion dollars after a series of discussions and presentation of documents and reconciliation meetings was traced to the four major items today. Those items are the subsidy that we have discussed extensively, and that is the reality.”

Having itemized other issues like legalities, budgetary provisions, as among issues realized during reconciliation, he further spoke about the kerosine subsidy.

“The reality today, that I found when I stepped in on the 26th of June 2012, is that subsidy of kerosine was still there and it is still there as we speak. So, the total amount based on our reconciled figure is 8.76billion dollars.

“We also did a detailed material balance of crude oil and product inventories and arrived at 0.76billion for the losses we encountered as a result of the harsh business environment.”

 

NNPC Reacts To Sanusi On $20billion

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has dismissed the $20 billion dollar allegation made by the CBN Governor, calling it baseless.

The Acting Group General Manager Public Affairs, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim said that Nigerians should not take the CBN Governor seriously since this is not the first time he would be making what he calls a wild allegation.

Sanusi had told the Ahmed Markafi Senate Committee probing the allegation of unremitted funds, that the NNPC shipped 67billion dollars in crude and only 47 billion dollars had come back to the Federation. Therefore the NNPC has to proof where the 20billion dollars is.

The NNPC boss expressed surprise that in spite of extensive clarification on the matter, Mallam Sanusi was still confusing the role of NPDC as part of NNPC’s.

According to him, ‘‘Let me make this point clear that CBN is a banking outfit, not a petroleum outfit.

“It is therefore understandable why they keep making unsubstantiated claims, which a little understanding of the technicalities of the oil industry would have saved them from making.

“The CBN is not an auditing outfit but what it is doing now is auditing.”

The Senate committee expects the NNPC to make their own presentation before it, and the meeting has been adjourned till 10am on Thursday, February 13, 2014.