By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Ahmed Makarfi on Thursday disclosed that it was unconstitutional for President Goodluck Jonathan to appoint auditors for Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) to audit alleged missing $20 billion.
Presidency had on Wednesday authorized a forensic audit of the NNPC after weeks of public uproar over alleged $20 billion in missing state revenues.
Former Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi wrote a letter last September to President Goodluck Jonathan saying almost $50 billion in revenues from oil exports from January 2012 to July 2013 had not been remitted to the federation account, in a clear violation of the law.
He lowered the estimate to $20 billion in testimony to a senate committee investigating the case last month.
Speaking with newsmen, Senator Markarfi said that by law President Goodluck Jonathan cannot appoint auditors for NNPC or Nigerian Port Authority(NPA).
Markarfi said,”I don’t think that the presidency has any other body than the auditor general, i believe he is referring to the auditor general because by law he cannot appoint auditors for NNPC or port authority every thing you have to be careful so that it does not be a worthless exercise.
“if you do for your own internal consumption you may end up with a document that even though will give you a picture of something you may not present before a court of law because of how you went about it.”
On subsidy, Markarfi said,”the figure could be more than eight million and until we receive the six months before we know the size of what needs to be forensically audited in relation to subsidy. Everything that needs to be done needs to be done legally and constitutionally.
” Having directed the ministry of finance the question which arose that do they have the legal basis to do so? and we found out that they don’t have the legal basis to do so. can the national do so yes if we as a committee go by our self-selves but we cannot appoint auditors to go into the executive arm, but we can go anywhere and ask anything but if we go do we have the financial capacity to do that, but there must be forensic audit.
” since we are all interested in this forensic audit, the president can direct for forensic audit, the auditor general even though the constitution says he can’t appoint the auditor he can recommend auditors from corporations to appoint, but he can do this special investigation which technically is the same thing as auditing so you have to find a legal and constitutional way of doing something so that someone would not challenge it on the basis of law because you don’t know what you are going to find out that’s why we demanded that the report of the auditor general of the forensic audit should be made directly to the national assembly.”