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Buhari Rattles NNPC Over Sanusi’s $20m Allegation, Allison, 7 Others Sacked, Jittery

Diezani-Alison-Madueke

President Muhammadu Buhari  has  dissolved the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in a move that is  seen as a prelude to the  probe of the organization.

The  board  dissolution is with immediate effect, according to the Director of Communications in the office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Haruna Imrana.

Imrana said in a terse statement in Abuja that “The directive to that effect was conveyed in a letter signe by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Danladi Kifasi.”

President Buhari   thanked members of the dissolved board for their services to the nation.

The organisation is currently at the centre of a corruption scandal after the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and now  the Emir of Kano, Alhaji  Muhammadu Lamido Sanusi,  alleged  in late 2013 that  the NNPC had failed to remit  billions of dollars  to the federation account.

He submitted documents on oil  contracts, confidential government  letters and private presidential correspondence, covering  over  300 pages to the National Assembly to back up his claim.

Sanusi said at the time that NNPC’s failure to “remit foreign  exchange to the Federation Account in a period of rising oil prices has made our management of exchange  rates and price stability extremely difficult.”

He told the  Senate inquiry that  of the $67 billion worth of oil sales made by the NNPC  over a period of 19 months, between $10.8 billion and $20 billion was unaccounted for.

The allegation was vehemently disputed by the Jonathan Administration with its  Finance Minister,Dr.Ngozi  Okonjo-Iweala, and Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani  Alison-Madueke, dismissing it as unfounded.

The management of the NNPC itself  said Sanusi’s  allegation stemmed from his “misundertanding”  of  the workings of the oil industry.

Sanusi was subsequently queried and later suspended before he ascended the throne.

When the controversy refused to go away,  former President Goodluck Jonathan ordered a forensic   audit into the account of the corporation.

The forensic   auditors,  however, cleared the NNPC of wrongdoing, but  came to the conclusion that the firm  was owning government $1.48 billion for a separate shortfall.

Government asked the NNPC to pay the money forthwith into the federation account.

The money is yet to be paid.

Soon after  his election as President in the March election, Buhari  vowed to take another look at the “missing” $20billion.

Receiving  a delegation from Adamawa State led by the state’s then  governor-elect, Bindow Jibrilla, in Abuja, Buhari said: “His Royal Highness, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was removed from the Central Bank because he said that about $20 billion was missing. Instead of  investigating the matter, the government sacked him. As God will have it, he is now the Emir of Kano and that is exactly what he wants to be.

“He has already written a   detailed report on it, and the incoming government will not ignore it.   $20 billion is too big to ignore. This is Nigerian money and it must be investigated.”

The sacked board was constituted in July 2012  by former President  Jonathan.

It was headed  by the  immediate past Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Alison-Madueke.

Other members were: Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance; Group Managing Director, NNPC; Abdullahi Bukar, Steven Oronsaye, Olusegun Okunnu and Daniel Wadzani; Executive Director (GED), Finance & Accounts, Bernard Otti; and GED, Corporate Services, Peter Nmadu.

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