PWC Was Not Contracted By Me To Audit NNPC, Says Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria's Co-ordinating Minister for Finance and the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday said she wasn't the one that contracted PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct a forensic audit of the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The report of the audit, which was concluded late last year, was released by the federal government this week amid pressures from the public.

Following the release of the report, PWC has said that the audit did not meet international standards because it could not independently verify documentations submitted to it by the company and that the NPDC, a subsidiary of the NNPC, refused to submit its accounts to it for auditing, as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria, which declined to submit documentation relating to the accounts of the corporation.

The Minister, who denied contracting PWC in a statement, was reacting to what she described as a frivolous lawsuit instituted against her by a group of three accounting firms-SIAO Parters.

The firm, according to the statement, had filed a suit against the Minister before a Lagos High Court, alleging that she appointed the global audit firm, PWC, to conduct the recently concluded forensic audit of the NNPC against the provisions of the Local Content Act.

The statement said, “It has come to the attention of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that SIAO Partners, a group of three accounting firms, has filed a suit against her before a Lagos High Court.

“The Minister is yet to be formally notified of the suit but from information gleaned from media reports, the group is alleging that she appointed the global audit firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, to conduct the recently concluded forensic audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation against the provisions of the Local Content Act.

“The CME is astonished by the news of the said court action, which is spurious in the extreme.

“It is shocking that professionals of the calibre of the SIAO Partners can embark on this kind of legal action without taking the trouble to do the minimum amount of homework to confirm basic facts.

“Dr Okonjo-Iweala did not appoint the PWC to carry out the audit. The SIAO Partners should immediately drop this totally baseless suit or she will see them in court.”



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