28 February 2014

Nigeria: Government Commences Audit of NNPC's Accounts, Auditor General Says

The Auditor General of the Federation, AGF, Samuel Ukura, has said that his office has begun the audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC's finances to ascertain the whereabouts of trillions of Naira of oil revenues said to have either been misappropriated or unremitted to the Federation Account over the years.

Mr. Ukura, who was appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts in Abuja to defend the 2013 and 2014 budgets, said 20 auditors involved in the audit were recently exposed to specialized training programme designed to help them adequately examine oil and gas financial documents and audit NNPC's accounts.

"We had a budget of N60 million for training and we were able to train 20 officers who are presently on the field auditing the accounts of the NNPC," he said.

Following allegations by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Lamido Sanusi that the corporation failed to remit to the Federation Account over $20 billion (about N3.2trillion) of oil resources it lifted and exported on behalf of some partners and government agencies, Nigerians have been calling for a probe of NNPC's accounts.

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had while addressing the lawmakers on the allegations last week called for the foreign audit of the accounts of the NNPC to unravel the truth about the alleged missing oil monies.

On Wednesday, the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, also made fresh allegations, accusing the NNPC of deliberately shielding away from its auditors another $22.8 billion (about N3.65 trillion) off balance sheet items reported in the 2009-2011 audit exercise.

The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Zainab Ahmed, made the allegations while addressing the House of Representatives committee probing allegations of massive corruption involving the NNPC and two Swiss oil companies, Vitol and Trafigura.

Mrs. Ahmed said the money represented NNPC's portion of a third party financing scheme from external financial markets, and loans from its multinational Joint Venture operating partners, as part of alternative funding arrangements for its activities.

On the performance of the 2013 budget, Mr. Ukura told the committee that the recurrent budget was implemented 100 per cent, while the capital budget was implemented only 57.7 per cent, amounting to N374.157 million.

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