Nigeria appoints forensic auditors to probe NNPC’s missing $20 billion

May 09, 2014 | Government & Regulations, Management

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, during a debate at the ongoing World Economic Forum for Africa (WEF) in Abuja.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, during a debate at the ongoing World Economic Forum for Africa (WEF) in Abuja.

Abuja, Nigeria | — The Nigerian federal government said on Thursday that forensic auditors have been appointed to carry out a detailed investigation into the activities of the state-owned oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, stated this during a debate at the ongoing World Economic Forum for Africa (WEF) in Abuja.

She explained that an accounting firm – PriceWaterHouse – has been appointed to carry out the exercise.

According to her, the move followed recent allegation by suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi, that $20 billion was not remitted to the federation account by the NNPC.

But Okonjo-Iweala, speaking at the 24th edition of WEF, said the exercise would be carried out within a period of 16 weeks under the supervision of the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation.

The minister added that the forensic audit would help unravel all the mystery surrounding the alleged unaccounted $20 billion.

Responding to a question by one of the panelists on corruption and transparency, the minister said: “The issue of holding government to account, I don’t think Nigerians are laying back. We need that transparency and we welcome it”.

“The (suspended) CBN Governor raised issues on unaccounted amount from the federation account. “We at the Ministry of Finance have for two years been reconciling these figures with the NNPC to know what they are supposed to remit to the Federation Account.

“Our feeling is that the only way is to have a forensic audit that would let Nigerians know the issues.

“There is a forensic audit that the government has approved and it is being done by PwC under the supervision of the Auditor-General and they said they need 12 to 16 weeks to do that and all these would be clarified.”

On poverty and inclusive growth, Okonjo-Iweala said the nature of economic growth in the continent had not been inclusive enough, adding that more needed to be done to change the quality of economic growth.