Group Calls For Full Implementation Of NNPC Forensic Audit ReportLatest News, News Monday, February 9th, 2015
By Eric Ojo – A coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working on good governance, transparency and accountability in the extractive sector and tax justice in Nigeria, has urged the Federal Government to release the full report of the forensic audit of the accounts and transactions of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
In 2014, the immediate past governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi Lamido, alerted the nation that about $20 Billion was unremitted to the Federation account by the NNPC. After several back and forth and tinkering with the figures which kept fluctuating, it became undeniable that indeed billions of dollars were unaccounted for.
Consequently, the Federal Government engaged PriceWaterHouseCoopers to carry out the forensic audit of the NNPC in a bid to unravel the mysteries behind the conflicting figures and respect the rights of Nigerians to know the truth.
The coalition also urged the Federal Government to urgently commence the implementation of the recommendations on the audit report, adding that it should not be swept under the carpets like previous reports in the country.
The group lamented that after waiting for about a whole year and the report is finally released, the Nigerians are being denied the right to access to the full version of the report, adding that noted the fee of this audit was paid with tax payers’ money and therefore every Nigerian citizen has a right to have full access to its content.
The coalition further noted that the highlights presently available to the public have recommended that the NNPC and NPDC should refund to the Federation Account, a minimum of $1.48 Billon (about N274.54bn). This, according to the group, comprises of monies from the mismanagement of several transactions, including cost managements, Signature bonuses, Petroleum Profit Tax and royalty payments. The group therefore called on the president to develop the political will to implement the recommendation.
The coalition expressed it disappointment over the notoriety of the NNPC and its attitude toward the management of Nigeria’s commonwealth, as represented by oil and gas resources, has remained a recurring issue highlighted by the several Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) audit reports, which recommendations had gone unheeded, through to the reports of several investigative panels set up by both the executive and legislative arm which recommendation were never implemented.
“While we consider the President’s request that the Auditor-General of the Federation should study the report and make the key highlights public within the week of its submission a good beginning, it is insufficient and falls short of Nigerians’ expectation full disclosure”, the coalition said in a statement jointly signed nine CSOs.
The CSOs include; Action for Community Development, Centre for Democracy and Development,(CDD) Centre for Information Technology and development, (CITAD) Centre for Advance Social Sciences (CASS),Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre,( CISLAC), Environmental Rights Agenda/Friends of the Earth(ERA), National Tax Justice and Governance Platform, Nigeria SOTU-Nigeria, West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF).
“We call on the Management of the he Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, to develop a refund plan for this amount and make it public for the purpose purposes citizens’ monitoring.
“We also believe that the indictment of institutions indicate culpability for individuals under whose watch such colossal mismanagement occurred. We demand that such be subjected to the most severe disciplinary measures available the public service rules and regulations.
“We call on the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill before the expiration of the tenure of the present Assembly as this will contribute immensely to the prevention of these types of leakages that undermine our ability to generate sufficient revenues to finance development and provide essential services to Nigerian citizens.
“We call on all citizens, civil society organizations and the media to ensure that the report of this audit does not go the way of previous ones in line with the impunity and waste of public resources that has characterized this administration”, the state added.
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