Stolen $20 Billion: Okonjo-Iweala Denies Appointing PriceWaterHouseCoopers

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday denied appointing PriceWaterHouse Coopers to audit the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the allegation the company diverted $20 billion oil money.

This claim was contained in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the Minister, Paul Nwabuikwu, Thursday.

According to Mr. Nwabuikwu, the statement came in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of three accounting firms before a Lagos High Court, accusing Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala of violating the local content law by appointing PwC.

“The group is alleging that she appointed the global audit firm PWC to conduct the recently concluded forensic audit of the NNPC against the provisions of the Local Content Act,” he said.

As finance minister and coordinator of the economy, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala played a leading role in 2014 as the government tried to debunk allegation by a former governor of Central Bank, Lamido Sanusi, that $20 billion oil money had been stolen.

After efforts to reconcile the accounts at a Senate hearing failed, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala announced that an independent forensic audit would be conducted.

The government later announced the hiring of PriceWatersHouseCoopers.

Despite completing its work in September, the government only released the report on Monday.

The report, which indicted the NNPC and has asked the corporation to refund over at least $1.48billion to the federal government, has however been discredited after PwC affirmed it could not vouch for its content and overall quality of its work. (NAN)