Audit of Nigeria’s NNPC shows it overpaid state, but still owes

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By Felix Onuah

ABUJA  – A forensic audit of Nigeria’s state oil firm released on Monday said the company, accused of corruption, actually overpaid the state by almost $750 million, but should still pay it an additional $1.5 billion.

Outgoing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan released the audit days after his elected replacement, Muhammadu Buhari, pledged issue the report and crack down on corruption in the energy company once in office.

The probe of Nigeria Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) books was instituted last year after former central bank Lamido Sanusi said the firm had withheld $20 billion in oil revenue from government coffers, jeopardising the country’s finances.

Details in the PriceWaterhouseCoopers audit said NNPC actually overpaid by $0.74 billion in the period between January 2012 to July 2013, after remitting $50.81 billion to federation accounts of the $69.34 billion it had received.

The balance of $18.53 billion was accounted for through various operational costs, unremitted revenues by a subsidiary and gasoline and kerosene subsidies, it said.

Sanusi had told a Senate committee in 2014 that NNPC had received $67 billion and handed over only $47 billion.

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After the allegations, Jonathan publicly dismissed the claim and replaced Sanusi, saying the banker had mismanaged the central bank’s budget. Sanusi has since become Emir of Kano, the country’s second-highest Islamic authority.

The PwC audit, however, said NNPC and its upstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, should hand over $1.48 billion arising from unsubstantiated costs, duplicated subsidy claims and computation errors.