Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating minister of the economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has dismissed recent reports making the rounds in some section of the media alleging that she has “disowned” the audit firm PriceWaterCoopers (PWC)
According to Okonjo-Iweala, her recent statement denying the allegation that she appointed the firm to audit the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), does not amount to disowning the firm.
Clarifying the minister’s position through a statement signed by her special adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, the minister dismissed the reports and called on journalists to update and verify reports before sending to the press
Part of the statement says “Contrary to reports by Premium Times and some other media, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has not disowned PriceWaterHouse Coopers, the international audit firm which carried out the recent audit of the alleged unaccounted for $20 billion.”
“This is because the forensic audit was actually proposed by Dr Okonjo-Iweala as the best way to get to the truth following the disagreement (and widely conflicting figures) between former CBN Governor (and current Emir of Kano) Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and the NNPC over Sanusi’s allegation of unaccounted for funds.
“Her proposal was accepted by President Goodluck Jonathan as well as the Senate, and the President subsequently directed the Auditor General of the Federation to lead the work. The Auditor-General later appointed PwC to carry out the audit.
Nwabuikwu said the minister “respects the process which produced the audit” but added that “requesting the audit is of course not the same thing as hiring the auditor”.
“This was why we made it clear in our last press release that the suit filed against Dr Okonjo-Iweala before a Lagos High Court by SIAO Partners alleging that she appointed PwC to carry out the audit is frivolous and uninformed.
“We urge the relevant media to update their information based on this clarification.”