An audit report of the management of the petroleum industry may have indicted the petroleum ministry, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and its auditors of unethical conducts in the management of Nigeria’s subsidy fees.
Bukola Saraki (PDP Kwara state), a member of the senate joint committee investigating the management of the nation’s petroleum subsidy made the revelation on Thursday during the resumed investigative public hearing at the national assembly.
The KPMG report which was commissioned by the finance Ministry revealed that the two auditors hired by the NNPC to verify volume imported claims of fuel importers – Akintola Williams Deliotte and Olusola Adekanola and Co – may have conspired with the importers, NNPC and the petroleum ministry to inflate petrol importation quotes and defraud the nation of billions.
The KPMG, which is on the table of the finance minister, Ngozi-Okonjo Iweala, confirms that the auditors whom the finance ministry rely on to confirm the claims by importers of petroleum are involved in the day-to-day landing of products at the ports – compromising their independence.
Usually “PPRA the verify import documents, and the forward those documents to the finance ministry. The finance ministry appoints auditors who verify those claims and reports back to the ministry before payment is made,” Mr. Saraki explained.
However mentioned in a report that independent auditors present at the end of the loop to verify the figures for the finance ministry are part of the daily operations of landing the cargos – the ones who generate the initial figures.
“KPMG has confirmed that that process is not actually right,” Mr. Saraki said.
The finance minister admitted the existence of the KPMG report but declared she has not had time to peruse it and validate its claims for the lawmakers.
The KPMG report proves that the auditors are not trustworthy and have acted unprofessionally but the minister said they are the best the industry can offer ironically hoping that with their reputation at stake internationally, the will act ethically.
“What you are really talking about is the trustworthiness of the professionals that are brought to do their job,” the finance minister who sounded lost in the ring said. “When you hire auditors of international repute, they are expected to do their job in a professional manner. Even if you were to bring another one, they might still do what they want to do and give you the wrong figures.”
Although the report is yet to be made public, the senate panel coerced the minister to send it a copy of the report, in seven day, to aid their investigation into the management of the nation’s fuel subsidy which has recently become a source of deep controversy in Nigeria.