The National Economic Council Ad-hoc committee on the crude oil proceeds management led by Edo state governor Adams Oshiomhole is set to hire two international forensic audit firms to obtain details of the allocation of the revenue accrued into the federation account, Vanguard reports.
The committee head disclosed this on Thursday, August 6, in Abuja adding that the period under investigation will be from January 1, 2010 to June 30, 2015.
Oshiomhole further told journalists that some agencies involved in revenue generation had already been invited to brief the body, which includes Kaduna state Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Gombe state governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe and Akwa Ibom state governor Udom Emmanuel.
Oshiomhole vowed to ensure a thorough and professional approach to the investigation.
“We held our first primary session today here with some of the revenue generating agencies that are supposed to remit funds to the federation account. We had a successful session with Customs, NPA, NEITI, SEC, FIRS, and quite a number of others and next week we will also hear from CBN, Ministry of Finance, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.
“For the remaining ones, we agree we are going to meet on Thursday next week, NNPC, NPDC, DPR, NIMASA and other remaining agencies. We have started the work, with the idea to hear them out, what they have been doing, with particular emphasis on revenue accruing from these organizations and whether or not these have been remitted to the Federation Account for judicious distribution.
“We realised that this is a task and given our mandate, even if we were professional accountants because we are sitting governors, we would not have the time to do a forensic audit which this assignment entails.
“Therefore, we have agreed in line with our mandate to appoint two reputable international audit firms to carry out a thorough forensic audit, not only of NNPC, which is more of excess crude, but other monies that accrued to the Federation Accounts. We have other revenues like bonuses, royalties, taxes, VAT that flow into the Federation Account.
“We are taking a holistic review of the entire process, looking at all the agencies that make contribution of funds to the federation account. We are convinced that by appointing audit firms, we will allow professionals to carry out this exercise, so that it will be free of any political colouration and also we will ensure the outcome of the investigation will.
“We have learned, we have listened and asked questions. I think we all have a clear picture of what is happening in those organizations before now. Some have information to supply and we have drawn attention to those areas, they are willing to oblige. We believe in the end, we will be able to not just establish what had happened over the period but much more important, going forward with the changes the President has promised the country.
“It is not going to be business as usual. He started on a clean slate and everybody knows the new rules of the game and in particular as the laws apply to the various institutions are implemented in full. So I think we started very well. We are very confident that we are going to come out with something that is going to be of immense benefits to the Nigerian people…
“Some reports were produced by PWC but in that report the PWC expressed their frustration and pointed to the fact that they were not able to access all the information they needed and that what they were able to produce was to the extent of information that was made available to them.
“Audit can only be credible as much as information that was made available to auditors. The good news now is that with President Buhari, all the books will be open, no agency has any protection. Any agency that refuses to open the books then is ready to go on confrontation with the authority.
“The forensic audit will act on the whole truth and nothing but the truth so that all stakeholders will have basis to formulate good policies and that Nigeria will never find itself in this circle where huge sums of money are allegedly diverted and unaccounted for. Audit has become a way of life for all public institutions.”
Speaking about the five-year term to be covered, Oshiomhole noted that should there be need to track details proceeding the said period, the committee would not limit the time frame.
“We can’t impose a time frame on them but will engage them and by Thursday we will be able to make it public. We need to listen to them and agreed with them on how much time will be okay for them. We are all in a hurry to ensure that the right thing is done. The emphasis is not on time but doing thorough job.
“By next week we will meet with the big ones and we will then be able to tell you the audit firms that we have appointed. They are firms I am sure Nigerians will have confidence in.
“At the end of the audit we will hear them out and reconcile them with what the laws says and arrive at a position. Given the volume of work and complicated nature of issues, we agreed we need professionals to carry out the audit. It is only the professionals that can handle it. It is not good to compromise.”
It should be noted that Governor Oshiomhole’s claims have been widely publicised recently. The first loud statement was made earlier in July when the politician insisted that one of Jonathan’s ministers had stolen $6billion oil money, which he said was revealed to President Muhammadu Buhari by the US officials.
In another development an anonymous source from the president’s entourage said that the US seniors had given Buhari the list containing the specific names of oil thieves.
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