The KPMG audit report that uncovered widespread rot and corruption in Nigeria’s oil sector, and particularly, the controversial subsidy management, is to be reviewed at a special session of the House of Representatives, one committee said Thursday.
The session, expected next week, will consider the forensic report at a meeting to be attended by finance and petroleum ministries officials, and those from other government affiliate bodies including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the ad hoc committee on the management of fuel subsidy, said.
The 43-paged document, uncovered from government closet and made public by Premium Times, catalogues a horrendous scope of rot and brazen fraud in the sector, indicting several government agencies, including the NNPC.
Amongst other revelations, the report indicted the corporation for overpaying itself and marketers subsidy claims, falsifying naira to dollar exchange rate, and pursuing oil import operations without documentations.
The details helped rally public anger against the removal of fuel subsidy after the government attempted to brush the findings aside, triggering President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive for its review.
Coming on the heels of President Goodluck Jonathan’s pledge to review the document and punish those culpable, the scheduled house hearing will represent the first real effort by an arm of government to act on the document.
Testifying before the House committee Thursday, Finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said no official found liable would be shielded from punishment, promising to surrender the reports to the house immediately.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala again denied that the finance ministry authorized the NNPC’s arbitrary deductions of subsidy payments, a key aspect of the report which asserts that the corporation carried out illegal deductions, at times over paying itself.
“We want to ensure this matter is sorted out. We want to clean out any corruption or misuse of resources re my ministry,” she told the lawmakers on her second appearance at the sitting.
“We are really interested in finding out the facts of this subsidy issue – especially the corruption. We must get out the truth.”
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala flatly denied she masterminded the removal of the subsidy saying it was “government decision.”
An implementation of the recommendations of the KMPG independent report, documented over months, will save at least N5 trillion for the nation, Olisa Agbakoba, former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, said.
A further N10 trillion can be realized if the recently passed Nigerian Oil Local Content Act, is implemented, Mr. Agbakoba, a Maritime lawyer told the lawmakers.
“The KPMG report is so embarrassing and a big disgrace. A substantial part of the work of this committee had been done by the KPMG and it is very unfortunate that ever since that audit was done, nothing was done with the report. The KPMG report should be fully implemented,” he said.
Meanwhile, the federal government is to seek an amendment of the yet-to-pass 2012 budget, to allow funding of petrol subsidy at the new price of N97.
Minister of State for finance, Yerima Ngama, said a meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee is on hold for that purpose.
“As of now, FAAC has not met on this. At N97, it means there is subsidy,” Mr. Ngama said. “So FAAC will have to meet to consider the partial implementation of subsidy and maybe resubmit the budget to the National Assembly.”