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Jonathan Orders Release of Audit Report on NNPC, Denies ‘Last-Minute’ Looting

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday reacted to reports attributed to President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, that he (Buhari) would re-visit the alleged missing $20bn after the inauguration of his administration.

Jonathan insisted that his administration had nothing to hide on the alleged unremitted money.

Accordingly, he ordered the relevant agencies of government to release the report of the forensic audit that was conducted following the allegation by former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), now emir of Kano, His Highness Muhammad 11.

The audit report by PriceWaterHouseCooper (PWC) had recommended that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) refund $1.48bn to the federation account.

The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, on Monday addressed State House correspondents on various issues in Abuja.

He said: “President Jonathan is deeply concerned by the continuing suggestions that his administration still has anything to hide about the unproven allegation that about $20 billion is unaccounted for by the NNPC during his tenure.

“To lay the matter to rest, President Jonathan in line with Section 7(2) of the NNPC Act, has directed that the full report of the PWC Forensic Audit of the NNPC accounts be released immediately to the public so that all Nigerians will be properly informed on the matter.”

Jonathan also took a swipe at the All Progressives Congress (APC) over allegations that his administration is engaging in last-minute looting of the public treasury, rushed privatization and hurried recruitment into the federal civil service.

President Jonathan described the statement credited to APC spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed as unfair and combative.

He noted that the incoming administration of Buhari had the liberty to review all the actions of his government as it may deemed fit, adding that the incumbent government would continue to discharge its duties of governance until the handover date.

Abati said: “We have noted with concern, the allegation by the spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed that officials of the Federal Government are engaged in “last minute looting of the nation’s resources, rushed privatization of key institutions and hurried recruitment into the public service.

“We also consider as most unfortunate and uncharitable, the suggestion by Alhaji Mohammed that the Jonathan Administration is trying to “tie the hands” of the incoming government merely by continuing to discharge its constitutional responsibilities until the end of its tenure.

“The Jonathan Administration which continues to do its best to ensure a smooth and peaceful handover over of power to the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, deeply regrets the unfairness and combative frame of mind reflected in Alhaji Mohammed’s statement.

“President Jonathan has done his best in the past five years to discharge his constitutional responsibilities for good governance and effective leadership of the nation.

“Without any prejudice whatsoever to the freedom of the incoming administration to do as it pleases, within the confines of extant laws when it assumes office, the Jonathan Administration will continue to discharge its responsibility to govern until May 29, 2015.

“In continuing to fulfil the obligations of his office however, President Jonathan has not, and will never condone any form of unscrupulous conduct on the part of state officials.

“President Jonathan will also never authorise any attempt to create any problems for the incoming administration as the APC spokesperson, who ought to know that the outcome of the March 28 presidential elections does not imply a cessation of governance, unjustly alleges.

“As Alhaji Mohammed threatened in his statement, the incoming administration will be perfectly within its rights to review all actions of the present government as it may deem fit.

“We see nothing wrong with that. After all, the present Administration reviewed the actions of previous governments on assumption of office with resultant benefits for policy and project implementation.”

The President has relieved the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr. Femi Thomas of his appointment with immediate effect.

According to a tweet by Abati on Monday, the President has also approved the appointment of Mr. Olufemi A. Akingbade as Acting Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the scheme.

Akingbade hails from Ekiti State and holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science as well as a Masters in Business Administration. He was the General Manager, ICT in the NHIS until his new appointment.

President Jonathan has also approved the confirmation of Mr. Mounir Haliru Gwarzo as Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Mr. Gwarzo who has been acting as Director-General of the Commission, was appointed to the Board as Executive Commissioner in January, 2013.

Again, the President approved the appointment of the former Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi as Chairman of SEC.

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