NNPC tackles Emir Sanusi over missing $20 billion

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on Tuesday attacked the former Central Bank of Nigeria and current Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, accusing him of attempting to hang the corruption tag on it by all means.

The emir had in an interview on Wednesday with CNN said the issues surrounding the alleged missing $20 billion oil revenue have still not been adequately addressed.

Mr. Sanusi had last year accused the NNPC of not accounting for $49.8billion oil money.

He later reviewed the sum to $20 billion after a reconciliation of the figure by the NNPC, the Federal Ministry of Finance and other government agencies.

The NNPC claimed the money was used for subsidy payment for kerosene and pipeline maintenance.

Amid public pressure, the government commissioned an independent audit of the NNPC, by the PriceWaterHouseCoopers, but has refused to release the report long after the probe was completed.

Mr. Sanusi told the CNN on Wednesday that in spite of the audit, the issue of the billions of dollars paid as kerosene subsidies without appropriation by the National Assembly in defiance of a presidential order was not sufficiently addressed.

“We don’t know who authorised those payments,” The Emir said. “Yet, no one has owned up to say I authorised the payments, or I made a mistake. It must stop.

“I think those issues need to be addressed and until we address them and begin to close all the loopholes in government revenues, we are going to continue to create opportunity for the destruction of the economy.

However, the NNPC in its reaction on Thursday raised strong objections to Mr. Sanusi’s claims, describing it as “the latest gambit” against the findings of the Senate Committee on Finance and the audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The NNPC in the statement by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ohi Alegbe, said the issue of kerosene subsidy was addressed by the Senate Committee on Finance.

According to Mr. Alegbe, the process of implementing the Presidential directive was not followed through by the Minister of Petroleum Resources at that time as required by law, which technically meant that kerosene subsidy was not removed.

“We are therefore at a loss as to what Sanusi II meant by his statement that issues surrounding his allegation of unremitted $20bn, especially regarding kerosene subsidy, have not been adequately addressed,” he said.

“Why the royal father appears hell-bent on hanging a tag of corruption on the Corporation even when all the inquiries into his allegation of unremitted funds have proved otherwise remains a mystery to us,” Mr. Alegbe added.

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