NNPC – Sanusi Got It Wrong Again on Alleged Missing Oil Money

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has objected to the latest claim by the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II that $20 billion from crude oil sales has still not been accounted for, despite the conclusive findings of the Senate Committee on FINANCE and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that no such money was missing.

The former CBN governor had appeared on the CNN programme Amanpour Wednesday during which he told its anchor Christiane Amanpour that the issues surrounding the missing $20 billion had not been adequately addressed by the federal government.

Elaborating, he said no one had accounted for the billions of dollars paid in kerosene subsidy, which was not approved by the National Assembly.
Sanusi also blamed Nigeria’s economic crisis caused by the fall in oil prices, a choppy STOCK MARKET, and the devaluation of the naira, on the mismanagement country’s of oil revenue.

“My position in the central bank was that there was always this gap of $20 billion after reconciliation between what the NNPC exported and what it deposited into the Federation Account. I raised a number of issues that I think have not yet been discussed and addressed sufficiently.

“One of them is the billions of dollars being paid in kerosene subsidies without appropriation by the National Assembly and against a presidential order and we don’t know who authorised those payments and yet no one has owned up to say, ‘I authorised the payments, I made a mistake, it must stop.’

“I think those issues need to be addressed and until we address them and begin to close all the loopholes in government revenues, we are going to continue to create opportunities for the destruction of the economy.

“It could be $20 billion at the end of the day. After reconciliation it could amount to $14 (billion) or $12 (billion) and I think these issues reflect unconstitutional and illegal withholding of revenues from the Federation Account.

“The country is paying the price today; oil prices have crashed, the currency has been devalued, THE STOCK MARKET has collapsed, government revenues are in a very bad shape. Whoever wins, whether this government or the opposition, will have to deal with these issues. The petroleum sector is a major drain on the resources of the country and this has to be looked at,” he told Amanpour.

However, reacting to his statement yesterday, the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of NNPC, Ohi Alegbe, termed Sanusi’s claims as false, stating that the issues surrounding his allegation of unremitted oil revenue by the corporation had been adequately addressed.

NNPC said the emir got it wrong again in the same way his failure to grasp the issues of remittances to the Federation Account led him into the embarrassing error of alleging that NNPC failed to remit $49.8 billion oil revenue into the Federation Account, an allegation which has since been dispelled even by his own account.

“According to the royal father, ‘one of them (issues) is the billions of dollars being paid in kerosene subsidies without appropriation by the National Assembly and against a presidential order and we don’t know who authorised those payments and yet no one has owned up to say I authorised the payments, I made a mistake’.

“But it is on record that he (as CBN governor) attended the hearings of the Senate Committee on FINANCE where the issue of the kerosene subsidy was exhaustively looked at vis-à-vis the presidential memo directing the removal of kerosene subsidy,” the statement from the corporation said.

NNPC stated that the explanation was that the process of implementing the presidential directive was not followed through by the Minister of Petroleum Resources at that time as required by law which technically meant that kerosene subsidy was not removed.

It added: “It was on the basis of this that the Senate Committee on Finance, in its report, recommended that the executive should prepare and present to the National Assembly a supplementary budget to cover the expenditure in the sum of N90.6 billion for PMS (premium motor spirit) subsidy in 2012 and N685.9 billion for kerosene subsidy expended without appropriation by the National Assembly.

“PricewaterhouseCoopers also observed in its recent forensic audit report thus: ‘Regarding the issue of subsidy on DPK (kerosene) the presidential directive of 19 October, 2009, was not gazetted and there is no other legal instrument cancelling the subsidy on DPK’.”

NNPC reminded Sanusi that the senate committee had also concluded that all that was required was for the federal government to propose appropriation for the unappropriated subsidy for the period in a supplementary budget.

“We are therefore at a loss as to what Sanusi meant by his statement that issues surrounding his allegation of unremitted $20 billion, especially regarding kerosene subsidy, had not been adequately addressed,” NNPC said,

The corporation also explained that Sanusi began what it tagged a campaign of calumny against it with a false alarm that it failed to remit a whopping $49.8 billion, being proceeds of crude oil sales into the Federation Account from January 2013 to July 2013, adding that he had gone ahead to throw up unconfirmed figures.

“Upon reconciliation of the figures with the relevant agencies whereupon it was discovered that the balance of unremitted oil revenue was actually the amount spent by the corporation on its operations, in accordance with the law (NNPC Act), Sanusi began to play games with figures submitting at various times that $10.8 billion, $12 billion and $20 billion was what was unremitted by the corporation.

“Both the Senate Committee on Finance and PricewaterhouseCoopers have investigated the allegations and came out with reports exonerating the corporation.

“So why the emir appears hell bent on hanging the tag of corruption on the corporation even when all the inquiries into his allegation of unremitted funds have proved otherwise remains a mystery to us,” NNPC stated.

It observed that Sanusi’s dignity would be best served and preserved if he owned up to his error of raising a false allegation and apologised rather than continuing in error believing that if he continues to harp on his false allegation it would someday be accepted as the truth.

During the Amanpour interview, Sanusi also stated that Nigeria must do something about the endemic corruption in the country if the country is going to survive, adding that for a long time the Nigerian state had been a captive to vested interests and rent seeking.

He warned that the Nigerian political elite must recognise that if this does not change Nigeria cannot survive indefinitely.

According to him, “We cannot continue like this. There has to be INVESTMENT in capital, there has to be investment in infrastructure, power, education and healthcare. The state cannot just exist to make a very few people rich.

“Corruption is an old terrain in Nigeria, the perception has always been bad. I don’t think we have done enough by being in denial. I have spoken a lot about this in the past, I don’t want to say too much because we are close to an election, and I don’t want to be accused of getting into politics.”

Also, in responding to a question on the threat on his life by Boko Haram, Sanusi said he was ready to give his life if that would stop the sect from killing innocent Nigerians.

“If I had a way of knowing that if Boko Haram takes my life they will stop killing people in Nigeria, I will give up my life. I have nothing else to live for; I have achieved everything I wanted to achieve!

“I think the most important thing is for every Muslim leader to speak up and for the Muslims to let people know that this is not Islam, for the society not to accept them, for the society not to give them accommodation, for the state to protect the people to the best of its ability and for genuine grievances to be addressed,” he said.

Sanusi also blamed the huge gap between the rich and the poor in Nigeria for the insurgency stating: “We have a very unequal society vertically and horizontally.

“There is a lot of poverty and unemployment, there are conditions that have been created for youths to be radicalised. All of these have to be addressed at the same time, but silence and fear will not be the solution and will not stop them from targeting leaders.”

ThisDayLive

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