The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts yesterday issued a one-week ultimatum to the country’s finance minister, Dr Okonjo-Iweala and the auditor-general of the federation (AuGF) Mr Samuel Tokura, to forward to it the full report of the forensic audit of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The House Committee threatened sanctions if the listed parties failed to forward the forensic audit report released by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the reputable firm hired to probe the allegation.
Chairman of the committee, Hon. Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, disclosed this yesterday at a media briefing.
The move by the lawmakers is not unconnected to the demand by LEADERSHIP Newspaper, coming under the Freedom of Information Act, for the AuGF Office to release the full forensic audit report of the NNPC.
Adeola (APC, Lagos) recalled that following the allegation that about $20 billion was un-remitted by the NNPC to the federation account by the former CBN governor, the minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to carry out a forensic audit on the matter.
He lamented that several weeks had passed and several demands had been made by the committee to the executive and a resolution of the House had been passed demanding the full report,” but we have not been given the full report.”
According to him, the minister is “a culpable official if the allegation is proven” that the firm to carry out the forensic audit was commissioned and appointment by her “without the involvement, or at least the input of the auditor-general whose office is eminently and exclusively empowered for the duty by the 1999 constitution.
“It took quite a while and the public outcry for snippets of the report to surface, albeit in the press. Mr President was reported to have direct the auditor-general to study, analyse and release the report to the press. A highly condensed version of the report was eventually released as directed,” he said.
Citing Section 85 of the 1999 constitution, he said the House needs the full report for its oversight work, adding that since the auditor-general had already put the report in the public domain, it is also important that he should lay it before the National Assembly.
The chairman, therefore, gave the AuGF one week to submit the report on behalf of the federal government.
“The full report on the forensic audit by PwC, which must include the initial draft report, the executive summary, management/internal control letters, should be forwarded to the National Assembly not later than one week from today (yesterday),” he stated.
Adeola, who described report as “curious” noted that by virtue of section 85(6) of the constitution, the AuGF ought not to be directed by Mr President to deal with the report “in a particular manner,” adding that the report had been unduly delayed.