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Published On: Thu, Mar 13th, 2014

‘Missing’ $20bn: Jonathan orders probe of NNPC

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Jonathan and Alison
  • Asks Sanusi to respond to FRC queries
  • As judge’s absence stalls axed CBN gov’s suit

By Sunday Ejike Benjamin & Ikechukwu Okaforadi

President Goodluck Jonathan has authorised the engagement of reputable international auditors to carry out a forensic audit of the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), with a view to finding out the whereabouts of the alleged missing $20 billion oil funds.

A statement issued yesterday by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, said Jonathan took the decision as a measure to reassure Nigerians of government’s commitment to accountability and transparency in the conduct of government affairs.

Jonathan, who dismissed claims by Sanusi that his threat to force commercial banks to open up their books in order to unravel the whereabouts of the alleged missing billions earned him suspension, said the suspension was to ensure transparency in the investigation of the suspension CBN boss.

The president also challenged the suspended CBN governor to rather respond to the various charges of financial recklessness which the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) made against him than making unfounded allegations.

While refuting the allegation that government has buried the issue of missing funds, Jonathan said: “Malam Sanusi’s allegations are patently untrue. But government is making no effort to bury them as he falsely claims.

“Relevant committees of the National Assembly are still investigating the claims and the suspended CBN governor remains free to give evidence before them in support of his allegations”, he said.

Meanwhile, the president has accused Sanusi of inciting opposition parties and Nigerians against the federal government, warning him to desist from playing politics with serious national issues.

He said the insinuation by the suspended CBN governor that the alleged missing billions were diverted for 2015 campaigns was mischievous and irresponsible.

Jonathan, who faulted the claims of the ex CBN boss as cheap blackmail against the federal government, said the allegation was made in furtherance of Sanusi’s selfish personal ambition.

While warning that such cheap blackmail was unbecoming of a person who still holds the office of the CBN Governor, Jonathan regretted that instead of addressing issues, Sanusi was busy misinforming unsuspecting Nigerians.

“He also continues to make the mischievous claim that the government is somehow involved in a scam to divert huge sums of money from the Federation Account through the misappropriation of kerosene subsidy funds”, the statement said.

In a related development, the absence of Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday stalled the hearing of the suit filed by the suspended CBN governor, Sanusi.

Justice Kolawole could not sit to hear the matter as he was said to be attending a conference.

The suspended apex bank chief had, in a suit filed against President Jonathan, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police, requested for a court order reinstating him back as CBN governor.

The judge had two weeks ago refused an ex-parte motion filed by Sanusi on February 24, 2014, seeking an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from obstructing, disturbing, stopping or preventing him in any manner whatsoever, from performing the functions of the CBN governor and enjoying in full, the statutory powers and privileges attached to the office.

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