The Missing $20b Forensic Audit Report

Editorial

On Monday, President Goodluck Jonathan received the forensic audit report on the alleged $20 billion missing from the account of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, from the accounting firm, PriceWaterHouse, which was hired in March 2014 by the Federal Government to investigate the allegation.

It is however noteworthy, but not surprising, that barely 24 hours after the President received the document, Nigerians are already expressing doubts that anything would come out of the report. Some Nigerians wondered why the report is suddenly being submitted within 24 hours after the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari, asked the government what was happening to the report since the government had promised Nigerians that the report would be ready by December  2014.

We doubt if the report would not go the way of previous reports. We also take with a pinch of salt the President’s promise that the Auditor-General of the nation would look into the report. Nigerians already making mockery of the President’s statement that he would keep a copy for a possible memoir after leaving office have every reason to have a good laugh because of how an issue as grave as this is being trivialised by the President.

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In the last four years, different committees set up by the Federal Government had submitted reports, but it is very difficult to point to any of the reports that has been implemented by the government. In most situations, each report is added to previous reports on the shelf to continue gathering dust. Recall that in November 2012,  months after the protest against President Jonathan’s attempt to remove subsidy on premium motor spirit, Nuhu Ribadu’s Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force submitted its report recommending that the Federal Government should step up efforts to stop the incessant theft of crude oil in the oil rich Niger Delta region which the report called a national tragedy. Till today, it is widely known that nothing meaningful has happened to the report.

Even the contract awarded to private individuals including Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, to monitor the Nigerian waterways to prevent oil theft, even though the country has security forces saddled with the responsibility to do the job, has not stopped the brazen massive oil theft. Rather, it has worsened under these so-called private contractors. The current volume of crude oil still being stolen daily leaves Nigerians wondering about the sincerity of the government.

Those allegedly indicted in the fuel subsidy scam that has contributed to Nigeria’s economic woes are today waxing stronger and moving freely on the streets of the country. Refusing to make the report of the missing $20 billion NNPC money public would  further indict the government and confirm to all that it is not interested in fighting corruption. We therefore want the Federal Government to make the report public for Nigerians to know how such a huge amount of money disappeared from NNPC’s coffers. The report is not for Jonathan’s eyes only.