John Alechenu

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts on Sunday asked the Federal Government and its agencies to stop further dealings with Pricewater House Cooper, the firm that investigated the alleged $20bn missing oil money.Hon.-Solomon-Olamilekan

The committee said considering the controversy generated by the firm’s report on the missing money, the International Federation of Accounting and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria should probe past audits carried out on behalf of the Federal Government the PwC.

A former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor and now the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi had last year raised the alarm that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation did not remit the said sum to the federation account.

Initially, Sanusi had said in a letter he wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan that $49bn was not remitted by the corporation.

However, as a committee appointed by government set out to reconcile the accounts of the NNPC, Sanusi recanted and said the amount was $12bn. In the weeks that followed, he changed the amount involved to $20bn.

The Federal Government later engaged PwC to conduct a forensic audit of the accounts of the corporation, but the report of the firm generated more controversies.

The House Committee on Public Accounts, in its first official reaction to the report, noted that the firm “deceived” Nigerians by not telling the truth about its findings.

Its Chairman, Solomon Olamilekan, stated in Abuja that while the PwC made Nigerians to believe all along that it conducted a forensic audit on the missing fund , it had now admitted that the auditing was not detailed.

Olamilekan observed that from the initial $1.4bn the firm recommended that the NNPC should remit to the Federation Account, other figures had emerged.

He said, “The PwC is now saying that there was no forensic audit; that a lot of documents were not released to them.

“Several figures are now being bandied around. First, they said $1.4bn, now we hear other figures like $4.3bn.

“Why did the PwC deceive us all the while?”

He added that the “cloudy nature” of the handling of the audit exercise by the PwC raised doubts over similar investigations the firm had carried out for the government and its agencies in the past.

Olamilekan, who is the Senator-elect for Lagos-West Senatorial District, advised the incoming administration of Muhammad Buhari to suspend further dealings with the firm until it cleared its name.

Olamilekan said, “The International Federation of Accounting; the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, among others, should investigate the PwC and punish them appropriately.

“The PwC should refund all the money they collected from government for an audit they failed to do.

“The incoming Buhari-led federal government should suspend further dealings with the PwC. For a highly reputable firm to come out with such a report on a serious financial issue, is embarrassing.’’

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