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Published On: Fri, Jan 17th, 2014

Account for the ‘Missing $10bn’ Oil Money, Angry Ezekwesili Challenges Okonjo-Iweala

Obiageli Ezekwesili

LAGOS JANUARY 17TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Former Minister Ezekwesili believes that when it comes to Nigeria’s economy and revenues, the buck stops at Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s table. She therefore wants her to account for the country’s missing oil money
Former Vice President of the World Bank, Oby Ezekwesili, has taken the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to task over the sloppy manner the government has handled the issue of the ‘missing’ $49.8billion oil money.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, had, in a memo to President Goodluck Jonathan accused the NNPC of diverting huge oil revenue that should be paid to the federation account.
Mr. Sanusi had alleged that the NNPC systematically diverted more than 76 per cent of revenues realised from crude oil sales between January 2012 and July 2013, paying only 24 per cent of the proceeds from crude oil sales within the period into the federation account.
Later, at the end of a purported reconciliation meeting with the NNPC and other agencies, the CBN governor and Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala claimed the bulk of the money was not missing, but that about $10.8billion was yet to be accounted for.
The NNPC claimed, last week, that the missing $10.8 billion was spent on oil subsidy payments, repairs of vandalized oil pipeline facilities and operational costs.
However, the NNPC’s explanation appeared not to have convinced some Nigerians, who feel that the manner the issue was handled by the government left much to be desired.
Mrs. Ezekwesili, who said she was one of such Nigerians dissatisfied with the explanations offered by the NNPC, took to her tweeter handle, @obyezeks, at about 4:44 p.m. Nigerian time, on Wednesday, to express disappointment and frustration at the NNPC’s lack of accountability.
The former minister of education, popularly known as ‘Madam Due Process’ for her consistent insistence on transparency and accountability, in a series of tweets urged Nigerians to stand up and demand accountability over the matter.
She challenged Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala to personally shoulder the responsibility of accounting to Nigerians about the ‘missing money, pointing out that “a good place to start would be if the Coo (Coordinating) Minister of Economy can sign off on NNPC’s breakdown of the “missing $10Billion”.
She said, “Madam Minister, @NOIweala, can we please v (verify?) your signed off breakdown of the “missing $10Billion” that NNPC must account for?,” she asked. “It would help raise confidence in the administration if you! @NOIweala took up the accounting for the “missing $$10 Billion”.
Source: Premium Times

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