The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the PDP-led Federal Government of trying to suppress the audit report on the alleged missing $20 billion oil money, stating that the deadline for the release of the report, as set by the government, has come and gone.
In a statement issued in Ilorin Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, APC said the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had promised at the Financial Times Africa Summit 2014 in October, in London, that the report would be ready by November this year.
The party quoted the Minister at the Forum on October 6, 2014 as saying: ”We engaged PWC (PriceWaterHouseCoopers) with the Auditor General of the Federation taking the lead. They asked for 16 weeks to complete the work; they have spent 11 or 12 weeks so far and they will be done in a couple of weeks.”
APC noted adding the remaining four weeks for the conclusion of the report, as requested by the auditors, meant that it should have been ready latest November 7, 2014.
”It is now over a month since the deadline for the release of the report expired and the government has simply kept mum on the report, apparently in an effort to sweep the issue under the carpet, as it has done with all other reports of widespread corruption under the present dispensation.
”However, Nigerians will not allow this to happen. They will continue to demand that the audit report be made public, in the interest of transparency. We also believe that the Minister of Finance should strive to protect whatever is left of her international reputation by living up to her words that the issue will not be swept under the carpet. It is not only Nigerians but the entire international community who are interested in the outcome of the audit.
”If there is any reason why the report has not been released, the Minister should immediately come out and tell Nigerians. Otherwise, she should release the report today so that Nigerians will know exactly how much of their oil funds is missing and those to be held responsible for the unprecedented heist,” the party demanded.
The opposition said it refused to believe the stories making the rounds to the effect that the FG was deliberately sitting on the report because it (report) has heavily indicted it and some powerful personalities in the Administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
”In announcing the forensic audit of the unaccounted for money, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said the President supported it and asked for it to be done. Now that it has been done, why has the report not been released, even if it implicates the government itself?” the party queried.
The urgent release of the report, APC stressed would also end the rumour that the missing money was the source of the huge slush funds being used for President Jonathan’s re-election, as well as the speculation that it was the same missing money that formed the source of the huge funds that were round-tripped to the Jonathan campaign fund during his recent fund raising.
”Overall, a government that went cap in hand to borrow $1 billion to better equip the military in its fight against Boko Haram should not hesitate to get to the root of $20 billion missing oil money. Had that money not indeed been missing as alleged, would the government have needed to borrow $1 billion to pep up the Boko Haram war?
”We are therefore joining the millions of Nigerians who have demanded the urgent release of the audit report. Failure to do so before the end of the year will leave Nigerians with no choice than to conclude that the FG is indeed hiding something about the missing $20 billion, a conclusion that will indeed be more than justified,” APC declared.