By Ibidapo Balogun
President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered immediate release of the forensic audit of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) accounts conducted in February this year by Price Water House Coppers so that all Nigerians will be informed about it.
He made the order on Monday night following the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to probe the alleged missing $20 billion from the NNPC funds.
Former Central Bank of Nigeria governor and now Emir of Kano, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had raised the allegation then in 2013 that the NNPC accounts for 2012 to 2013 showed some amount initially put at $49. 8 billion and later $20 billion were allegedly missing.
The former CBN governor also later scaled the amount down to $12billion after a meeting between the Finance Minister, Prof. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, NNPC and CBN officials.
The Senate Committee on Finance headed by former Kaduna State governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, also cleared the NNPC over the matter.
A forensic audit of the NNPC accounts ordered by the presidency and conducted by Price Water House Coppers also cleared the NNPC over the alleged missing funds.
President Jonathan, in a press statement by his Special Adviser Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, has now directed that the report be made public.
Abati said: “President Jonathan is also deeply concerned by the continuing suggestions that his administration still has anything to hide about the unproven allegation that about $20 Billion is unaccounted for by the NNPC during his tenure.
“To lay the matter to rest, President Jonathan in line with Section 7(2) of the NNPC Act, has directed that the full report of the PWC Forensic Audit of the NNPC accounts be released immediately to the public so that all Nigerians will be properly informed on the matter”.
He also responded to the allegation that presidency was engaging “in last-minute looting of the nation’s resources, rushed privatization of key institutions and hurried recruitment into the public service” made by the All Progressives Congress.
Abati said: “We have noted with concern, the allegation by the spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that officials of the Federal Government are engaged in “last minute looting of the nation’s resources, rushed privatization of key institutions and hurried recruitment into the public service”.
“We also consider as most unfortunate and uncharitable, the suggestion by Alhaji Mohammed that the Jonathan Administration is trying to “tie the hands” of the incoming government merely by continuing to discharge its constitutional responsibilities until the end of its tenure.
“The Jonathan Administration which continues to do its best to ensure a smooth and peaceful handover over of power to the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, deeply regrets the unfairness and combative frame of mind reflected in Alhaji Mohammed’s statement.
“President Jonathan has done his best in the past five years to discharge his constitutional responsibilities for good governance and effective leadership of the nation.
“Without any prejudice whatsoever to the freedom of the incoming administration to do as it pleases, within the confines of extant laws when it assumes office, the Jonathan Administration will continue to discharge its responsibility to govern until May 29, 2015.
“In continuing to fulfil the obligations of his office however, President Jonathan has not, and will never condone any form of unscrupulous conduct on the part of state officials.
“President Jonathan will also never authorise any attempt to create any problems for the incoming administration as the APC spokesperson, who ought to know that the outcome of the March 28 presidential elections does not imply a cessation of governance, unjustly alleges.
“As Alhaji Mohammed threatened in his statement, the incoming administration will be perfectly within its rights to review all actions of the present government as it may deem fit.
“We see nothing wrong with that. After all, the present Administration reviewed the actions of previous governments on assumption of office with resultant benefits for policy and project implementation”.