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Last updateMer, 28 Jan 2015 6am

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Nigeria to hire forensic auditors over alleged missing US$20b oil money

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) - Nigeria's federal government is to hire independent forensic auditors to examine the books of the state-owned oil firm Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to unravel whether or not it failed to remit oil revenues to the Federation Account, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.

She said the external auditors would ascertain the true position of things and clear the controversy surrounding the matter.

“Our judgment is that a proper examination of these documents requires technical expertise beyond the capacity of the reconciliation team and, therefore, we believe we should have an independent forensic audit, managed independently of these submissions,” the local media Friday quoted the minister as saying.

Ms. Okonjo-Iweala spoke after appearing before the Senate Committee on Finance, which is investigating the alleged unremitted funds.

PANA recalls that at a public hearing in the Senate last week, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said records available to the bank showed that the total amount generated from crude oil sales was US$67.8 billion, while records of remittance by the NNPC to the Federation Account, where all funds accruing to the government is paid, was US$47.8 billion, showing a shortfall of US$20 billion.

Mr. Sanusi, who also appeared before the committee on Thursday, was not convinced by the explanations put forward by both the NNPC and the Finance Minister and insisted that US$20b was missing.

Group Managing-Director of NNPC Andrew Yakubu, while supporting the use of forensic auditor, said no money was missing.

“We don’t have any problem with forensic audit but what we are saying is that there is a procedure that had been put in place...to cross check our data and certify them for payment.

'We are happy for anybody to come in and look at it, but the question is what value is it going to bring because we have gone through these things over and over, but all the same we have no problem,” he said.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Ahmed Makarfi, agreed with the position of the minister on forensic auditing of the NNPC account and gave her one month to carry out the audit

Pana 15/02/2014