Abuja, Nigeria | – At least $1.48 billion is missing from Nigeria’s oil revenues, according to an international audit that found much less unaccounted for than the $20 billion alleged by the former Central Bank governor.
The report by PricewaterhouseCoopers covering January 2012 to July 2013 is an indictment of the accounting of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., which it said needs to be urgently restructured.
It said the corporation should pay at least $1.48 billion into the federal account.
President Goodluck Jonathan received the report on Monday and promised to publish key findings. An opposition coalition contesting a close presidential election Feb. 14 is demanding the entire report. Key findings collated by the federal auditor general were made available Thursday to The Associated Press.
The auditors also questioned $3.38 billion in alleged subsidies for kerosene charged by the petroleum corporation although a presidential directive ended the subsidy in 2009. Millions of Nigerians use kerosene for cooking. Few pay the subsidized price for which the petroleum corporation bills Nigeria’s treasury. A Central Bank report said it was a scam – that private business people favoured by the corporation reap benefits amounting to $100 million a month from the supposed subsidy.
Jonathan a year ago fired Central Bank governor Lamido Sanusi, a well-respected figure in international finance circles, after Sanusi created a scandal alleging $20 billion in oil revenues was missing – more than $1 billion a month over a 19-month period.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers audit excluded key areas where Sanusi charged billions were missing, including swaps of crude oil for refined petrol and questionable sales of state-owned assets to private companies.
Sanusi said he went public because Nigeria should have been saving windfall petrol earnings of more than $110 a barrel. Today, with oil at less than $50 a barrel, Nigeria’s economy is hurting. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer, pumping nearly 2 million barrels a day.