• Sunday, March 03, 2024
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Missing $20 billion: Okonjo-Iweala insists on forensic audit of NNPC books


The finance and coordinating minister for the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,  in a brief statement has reiterated the expatriate and independent audit of the NNPC’s supposedly inaccurate books must be done.

Sanusi Lamido was suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan over alleged financial misconduct
Sanusi Lamido was suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan over alleged financial misconduct

The statement  indicated the finance ministry’s stand into the alleged missing $20 billion, which suspended CBN governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido in a ‘later leaked’ letter, alerted President Goodluck Jonathan to.

It said:  “The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has asked for urgent action with regard to an independent forensic audit of conflicting claims of unaccounted funds made by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamdio Sanusi.”
Outgoing CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, was suspended last week. He blew the lid on the missing money.

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala was also quoted as saying, “My position on this has been clear from the start. The Ministry of Finance’s reconciliation showed a shortfall of $10.8bn in NNPC remittances to the Federation account. After this, the conflicting claims continued with new figures such as $20bn being mentioned.

“So since 13th February I have called for an independent forensic audit.

“President Goodluck Jonathan indeed announced last night that there will be an investigation into whether there are any funds missing from NNPC. He also indicated that the correct process needs to be followed in this investigation and I understand that the entity that has the proper authority to initiate such an investigation is the Auditor-General of the federation.

“I therefore want to see the truth from an investigation under the auspices of the Auditor-General, which in my view should be undertaken as a matter of extreme urgency by independent external auditor.”
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala insists that an audit of NNPC’s books must be done.

This statement may help to soften the impressions that some Nigerians have that the president and this administration supports corruption. Also, may downplay the notion that the suspension of CBN governor Sanusi Lamido, was a witch hunt to keep him quiet.

Goodluck Jonathan suspended Nigeria’s central bank governor last week for “various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct”. The president has insisted that his decision to suspend the governor was taken “in absolute good faith, in the overall interests of the Nigerian economy and in accordance with our laws and due process”.

Governor Sanusi, whose international reputation is strong, had been criticising the government over oil subsidies and apparent shortfalls in oil revenues.