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Sanusi weighs in on forensic audit of NNPC

For bribing NNPC officials, others, US keeps Glencore $1.2bn fine

Former central bank governor and emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, says key findings of the PwC forensic audit of the NNPC or the part that has so far been made public appears to have side stepped some of the questions he had asked when he raised an alarm about the so called missing twenty billion dollars last year, reports FT.

Nigeria’s government has seized on an audit of the state oil company as it seeks to lay to rest allegations from the former central bank governor that billions of dollars in revenues from crude sales went missing during the oil boom. Although the audit has not been made public, Nigeria’s auditor-general released selected findings implying that far less went unaccounted for than the $20 billion that Lamido Sanusi, then central bank governor, alleged that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) failed to remit between January 2012 and July 2013.

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In a response to questions by the FT, Sanusi said he had not seen the full audit, but that the “key findings” appeared to evade some of the questions he had asked. Diezani Alison-Madueke Nigeria’s petroleum minister and current president of the oil producers’ cartel OPEC,, who was put on the defensive by the claims said the audit showed her to be “vindicated”. “The summary of the forensic audit shows that the number of unpaid remittances stands at $1.48 billion, so we are keen to resolve this quickly. But in my view there is no amount that has disappeared,” she said. The $1.48 billion related to royalties and taxes resulting from asset transfers between the NNPC and a subsidiary, she added.

According to the auditor- general, the PwC report found that the state oil company had remitted $50.81 billion out of total of $69.34 billion in revenues from crude oil during the period under scrutiny. It had also spent $5.32 billion on petroleum subsidies and $3.38 billion on paraffin subsidies, with the remaining gap filled by operational costs. Sanusi provided evidence last year that the late President Umaru Yar’Adua had ordered an end to paraffin subsidies in 2009. Data he provided also showed that nowhere in the country was paraffin sold at a subsidised rate.

It was bought by the NNPC at about N49 (24 US cents), but retailed at between N170 and N250, with the difference amounting to $100 million a month in “economic rent”, he alleged. He also questioned the legality of billions of dollars of deductions from revenues at the NNPC for petrol subsidies, and implied that the state oil company was importing about twice what the nation consumed while supplying only half its fuel. The rest was supplied by private marketers.

According to the auditor-general PWC confirm that the paraffin subsidy cost met by NNPC had not been budgeted for in 2012 and 2013. PwC had recommended, he said, that “an official directive be written to support the legality of the . . . subsidy costs”.

However, the selected findings did not appear to address the actual import volumes of petroleum on which subsidies were computed – one area of contention. In an email to the FT, Sanusi said that without knowing how PwC ad- dressed these and other questions it was hard to draw conclusions. “My claim was always that these amounts were being withheld illegally and unconstitutionally — not that some explanation can- not be provided or conjured for what they were spent on,” he said, adding: “Anyone can produce invoices.” Joseph Dawha, group managing director of NNPC, said the audit had “clearly vindicated our long-held position that the alleged un- remitted crude oil revenue was a farce from day one”