The Federal Government has hired two international audit firms, KPMG and Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), to conduct a forensic audit of its revenue-generating departments and agencies covering the period between 2012 and May 2015.
The two firms were selected by a five-man committee of the National Economic Council (NEC) which made the announcement on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at the Presidential Villa after its second meeting during which it was also briefed by several of the agencies under probe.
Members of the committee, which was set up at NEC’s inaugural meeting two months ago, are Governors Adams Oshiomhole (Edo); Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna); Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom); Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe) and Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos).
The affected government agencies include the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); Central Bank of Nigeria; Federal Inland Revenue Service; Nigeria Customs; Department of Petroleum Resources; Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Securities and Exchange Commission; National Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and many others.
Briefing State House correspondents on the development, Oshiomhole said the audit earlier carried on NNPC by PwC under the past government of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, was not thorough enough as the firm complained of its work being undermined by refusal of the CBN and NPDC to cooperate and make any presentations to the auditing firm amidst an unfavourable political environment that prevailed then.
He also revealed that KPMG had then turned down the job of auditing NNPC because of the same impediments, further pointing out that Jonathan’s PWC audit was limited to NNPC alone and was meant to only deal with the allegation of missing funds in the corporation made by former CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who is now Emir of Kano.
“The weak link has been the political environment”, said the governor as he declared that this time around, President Buhari, who has insisted that it would not be business as usual, would ensure a better and more conducive environment for the audit to run its full course.
Oshiomhole stressed that audit firms would now carry out thorough and professional work to help lay out rules that would ensure things are done properly henceforth.
He said it is not yet known how long it would take the firm’s to complete the forensic audit of all the revenue-generating agencies but they have been directed to do the job as quickly as possible, and present a report on which government would rely to take further action.
On whether the further action to be taken would be prosecution and jailing of culprits, the governor said government would do only what is required of it in such a circumstance.
He said that the Federal Government would “not do what is outside what any civilised government will do, which is to ensure that government agencies run as they should.”
“This is about making Nigeria work for the benefit of other Nigerians and we have to bear in mind that governments are not run on the basis of collection of crude oil alone but government, regardless of colour or political affiliation, is run on taxes.
“So if you have tax-generating agencies that are not remitting taxes, government cannot run like that. In the long run, Nigeria has to live on taxes,” Oshiomhole added.
Meanwhile, the ongoing reorganisation in the NNPC continued on Thursday, with President Buhari approving the replacement of 15 Group General Managers (GGMs) of the corporation.
The new GMs are Mele Kyari as the new head of Crude Oil Marketing, replacing Gbenga Olu Komolafe, who was reassigned to Special Duties last week.
The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, named new divisional heads – Mele Kyari, Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD); Mr. Ahmadu Sambo, NNPC Oilfield Services; Dr. Surajdeen Bola Afolabi, ITD/SAP; Mr. Zubair Aliyu, NNPC Capital and Mr. Dafe Sejebor, Nigerian Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS).
Others are Mrs. Kemi Akitoye, Human Resources Division; Mr. Godwin C. Okonkwo, Finance; Mr. Bello Rabiu, Corporate Planning Division; Mr. Anibo Kragha, Treasury; and Mr. Dalhatu Makama, Shipping (Nidas & Nikorma).
Also appointed are Samuel Ndukwe, Power; Mike Balami, Accounts; Yusuf Matashi, LNG; Rabiu Suleiman, Engineering & Technology; and Dr. Olubunmi Oyetunde, Medical.
The Corporation explained that the downsizing which saw the exit of all senior managers who were billed to retire between now and December 2016 is also a cost-saving measure.
The corporation receives about half or one million barrels per day of Nigeria’s total production of which 445,000 bpd is allocated to Nigeria’s refineries.
“The task of restructuring the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into a lean, efficient, and business-focused organisation has commenced with management’s approval of the retirement of 38 senior managers.
“The exercise, apart from gearing the corporation in the direction of a leaner and more efficient organisation, has enormous cost-saving benefits,” the statement signed by Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ohi Alegbe read.
The is just as Kachikwu restated his determination to cleanse the malaise in the corporation with non-performing personnel in the lower cadre to be affected.
Addressing State House Correspondents after meeting with President Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa, Kachikwu said the new forensic audit of the corporation would cover up to 2015, adding that the restructuring efforts would have such profound impact that Nigerians should expect a more efficient and rebranded NNPC in the next six months.
His words: “Things have been done wrongly and things need to be done differently. We are doing a lot of work in terms of repositioning, restructuring, getting the right personal in key places and setting a culture of accountability and service delivery so that the new NNPC that you are going to see will be a different institution altogether.
“It is an A to Z restructuring. I have done the first three layers which has to do with the Group Executive Directors (GEDs); Group General Managers (GGMs) and General Managers.
“You are going to have a lot more now. The GEDs and GGMs will take it to the next layer which is the lower layer.
“If you have not done well enough, we can retrain you and if you have not done well enough and there is no possibility of retraining you, we will let you go.”
Kachikwu gave further explanation on his reforms, saying that they would entail a three-pronged process, including another forensic audit after the one done by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) which was ordered by the Jonathan administration.
On what do you do with Joint Venture Companies (JVCs) at a time the government has ordered operation of a single account, Kachikwu said the matter was still being looked into.
“The reality is that to run an oil company, you have got to have funds to do it. If you don’t, you close down the corporation and the production system will close down.
“So, we are looking at how to merge the need for accountability and openness with the need to make sure that the industry itself survives. We cannot throw away the baby with the bath water,” the NNPC boss added.
In another development, the Delta Dtate Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, visited the Presidential Villa to thank President Buhari for appointing Kachikwu, who is from the state, as the GMD of NNPC.
The governor used the opportunity to seek from the President a strengthening of the Gas City Project at Ogidigben in Delta State, dredging of the Escravos Basin and completion of the Second Niger Bridge.