News / Africa

Nigerian Senate Orders Audit of Unaccounted $20 Billion in Oil Revenue

Reuters
Nigerian lawmakers investigating a claim that the state oil company has failed to remit $20 billion in oil revenues ordered a forensic audit of fuel-subsidy payments on Thursday to find out where the money has gone.

Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi wrote a letter last September to President Goodluck Jonathan saying almost $50 billion in revenues from oil exports from January 2012 to July 2013 had not been remitted to the federation account, in a clear violation of the law.

He later lowered the estimate to $20 billion in his testimony to a Senate committee investigating the case. On Thursday, that committee questioned the finance minister, oil minister and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which denies Sanusi's charge that it runs fraudulent rackets.

The governor's suspicion of massive fraud at the heart of one of the world's most opaque state oil companies has put pressure on Jonathan a year ahead of elections, when he is already reeling from a failure to quell a northern Islamist insurgency.

It has also scared off debt investors worried about government squandering of oil revenues during election cycles. Sanusi said graft is slashing forex reserves needed to support the naira. The currency fell to an all-time intraday low of 167 to the dollar on Thursday, driven by foreign portfolio outflows, until the bank intervened.

The biggest gap in accounting is for $8.5 billion the NNPC says it retained from revenues during the 19-month period to cover subsidies it was owed on importing gasoline and kerosene.

NNPC says it buys kerosene at 150 naira a liter and sells it to suppliers at 50 naira per liter. But the retail rate is still 150 naira, which Sanusi said showed the subsidy was just “rent generated for the benefit of those in the kerosene business”.

He also says a directive in 2009 by then President Umaru Yar'Adua, who died in May 2010, scrapped kerosene subsidies. Petroleum Minister and NNPC Chair Diezani Alison-Madueke told the committee they continued to subsidize kerosene despite the presidential order to prevent hardship for Nigerians.

Call for transparency

“This illegality must end,” Senator Ibrahim Gumba said at the hearing. NNPC had no legal right to ignore a presidential order or to collect a subsidy that was not allocated, he said.

The head of the committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, told the finance ministry to set up an independent audit of subsidy claims approved for NNPC by the petroleum regulator PPPRA, which came under scrutiny in 2012 over a separate multi-billion-dollar fuel subsidy fraud involving private companies.

Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala agreed to organize a forensic audit.

Among items requiring an explanation are the fact subsidies were being paid out on 54 million liters of fuel per day, even though Nigeria only consumes 40 million liters per day - a discrepancy that lay behind a previous subsidy scam.

Sanusi also said that some of the $6 billion that NNPC's producing arm, NPDC, earned during the period should have been submitted to government accounts. Instead, it has been funneled into private hands through special deals given to oil companies.

NNPC has been criticized in several investigations in recent years, but consistently denies any wrongdoing.

“It is a lack of communication and misunderstanding which are causing these embarrassments,” said Alison-Madueke.

You May Like

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid