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Forensic audit report: NNPC insists no money is missing

Hiding group accounts, oil-backed loans show NNPC veils in secrecy again

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Wednesday reiterated its position that the report of the forensic audit carried out on its books by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) did not indict it in anyway but rather absolved it of culpability on all counts.

Joseph Dawha was reacting to the report of a forensic audit exercise conducted by PwC 15 months ago that was submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan on February 2, 2015 and later made public by the auditor general of the federation.

The GMD, who expressed joy at the successful completion of the forensic audit exercise to lay to rest the 15-month long controversy over the allegation of missing $49.8 billion stated that the report “has clearly vindicated our long held position that the alleged unremitted crude oil revenue was a farce from day one”.

Speaking on the issue of the outstanding $1.48 billion which made some sections of the media to claim that NNPC was indicted, the GMD explained that the amount was actually the balance of the book value of the divested assets that were transferred to NNPC upstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), excluding taxes and royalties.

“This does not constitute indictment; rather this value is still being reconciled with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). It is pertinent to note that the $1.48 billion was not part of the alleged unremitted revenues from crude oil sales”, Dawha insisted.

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Explaining further, the GMD stated that what the DPR sent to NNPC as the estimated value of the assets was $1.847 billion out of which the corporation paid over $300 million as a token to indicate its commitment to acquiring the assets pending resolution and reconciliation by NNPC and DPR.

On remittances of proceeds from crude oil sales into the federation account in the period from January 1, 2012 to July 31, 2013, the NNPC chief executive officer explained that the PwC forensic audit report was clear that NNPC remitted $50.81 billion out of a total of $69.34 billion, adding that the report acknowledged that the balance was spent on petrol and kerosene subsidy as well as the corporation’s operation costs.

He explained that both the Senate Finance Committee probe report and the PwC forensic audit report corroborated the corporation’s position that subsidy on kerosene was still in force as the presidential directive of October 19, 2009, was not gazetted in line with the provisions of section 6, subsection 1 of the Petroleum Act of 1969.

Dawha also explained that though the forensic audit report recommended a review of the laws to stop NNPC from deducting its costs and expenses from crude oil sales proceeds, it also acknowledged that they were not illegal.

He, however, stated that the management of NNPC was fully in support of the ongoing process of reviewing the laws governing its operations and has commenced internal transformation ahead of the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is currently undergoing legislative processes at the National Assembly.

He called on the media to eschew sensationalism and help disseminate the facts regarding the alleged missing money as contained in the reports of the various probes instituted to get to the bottom of the matter.

The government oil company has found itself in a defensive position since September 2013 when former CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (then still in office), wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan, alleging that between January 2012 and July 2013, NNPC lifted 594, 024, 107 barrels of crude oil valued at $65, 332, 350, 514.57.

Out of this amount, NNPC repatriated only $15 528, 410, 098.77, representing only 24 percent of the value, Sanusi alleged.

This means that the corporation is yet to account for an amount in excess of $49.8 billion or 76 percent of the value of crude oil lifted during the period in question.

However, NNPC in December of the same year (2013) refuted the allegations, saying that Sanusi did not understand the workings of the oil industry and how revenues from oil lifting are remitted to the federation’s account.