By Emman Ovuakporie & Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Federal Government to release the full audit report of Price Waterhouse Coopers on the missing $20 billion in Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, for further investigations.
This development was sequel to a motion raised under matters of public importance by the minority leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, APC, Surulere Federal Constituency, Lagos.
The minority leader in his submission, said: “The former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had raised an alarm that $20bn oil was missing from our coffers”.
Point of order
But before Gbajabiamila could continue, Leo Ogor, PDP Isoko Federal Constituency, raised a point of order pointing out that the minority leader erred in requesting the House to suspend the rule of the House, contrary to Section 48.
The presiding officer, Aminu Tambuwal, however, declared that Ogor was trying to overrule his earlier decision and ordered him to sit down for Gbajabiamila to continue.
The speaker said: “ The alarm raised then had generated a lot of agitation across the country which led to the engagement of Price Waterhouse Coopers by the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to carry out a forensic audit of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
“The Federal Government should release the full report to all so that a further probe can be carried out on the issue.”
At this point, Tambuwal put it to a voice vote and the ayes unanimously supported the move.
It would be recalled that the forensic audit report by Price Waterhouse Coopers on the missing NNPC $20 billion oil money submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan whittled the alleged missing sum to N274.54 billion ($1.48 billion).
The Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, had said on Wednesday that the manner of appointment of Price Waterhouse Coopers and the submission of its report were fraught with irregularities.
According to him, the chain of the appointment of the independent audit firm (Price Waterhouse Coopers) and the submission of the report were wrong.
“Auditor General did not know about the appointment of the Price Waterhouse Coopers. He didn’t know of the terms of engagement, it was done by the ministry (Finance).
“So when they now brought the report, the Ministry of Finance now said don’t give it to me, go and give it to the President because the Auditor General is independent according to the Constitution. If they gave it to her (Minister), it will be seen as if the office of the Auditor General is subsumed under Ministry of Finance.
“They now took Price Waterhouse Coopers to submit it to the President and directed the President to give it to the Auditor General to present it to Nigerians. The House must cause them (Federal Government) to lay the report before us,” Adeola noted.
‘Report a charade’
The lawmaker reiterated his conviction that the whole report was a charade, wondering how out of $20 billion, NNPC was only indicted for $1.48 billion.
“We need to know where the balance of $18.52 billion is,” he said.
He said if need be, the House would appoint an independent consultant who will ascertain the forensic report on NNPC account to know the truthfulness or otherwise of the skeletal report put in public domain.