Former chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Ahmed Markarfi yesterday gave reasons his panel did not indict former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Allison- Maduake over alleged non-remittance of $49.8 billion to the Federation Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).The allegation was made by former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, now Emir of Kano. Markarfi, whose panel in 2013 investigated the allegation, said the committee didn’t indict Allison-Madueke because throughout the exercise, no document demanded in line with the terms and scope of the assignment from both the CBN and the NNPC, indicted the former minister.
However, Makarfi, a former Kaduna State governor, said the panel indicted the then Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – led government of illegally spending about N700 million monthly which was never appropriated by the National Assembly, amongst other operations of the NNPC which the panel found altruistic.
Makarfi spoke in Abuja yesterday at a briefing on the allegation by the current All Progressives Congress (APC) – led administration that the PDP tolerated corruption while in office.
The former senator gave insight into how the PDP fought against corruption, warning that politicising graft, economy and security by the current government could spell doom for the country.
He explained: “There were two specific assignments given to us. The first one, we were to determine the amount that entered the federation account within a specified period of time and it didn’t have to do with so many aspects of NNPC operations such as strategic alliances, contracts and allocation of blocks. And at the end of the day, we came out with the finding that there was uncertainty as to the amount not being remitted as, in its presentation, the CBN was not even sure how much was not remitted.
“We didn’t indict anybody because forensic audit was yet to be conducted then. We had understanding with the auditor-general of the federation that he would conduct a forensic audit the report of which would be forwarded to our committee. We indicated this in out report to the Senate that when we receive the forensic audit report, we would make specific recommendations on matters that have to do with individuals.
“Maybe because we were leaving government, all our communications to the auditor general were ignored and we communicated to the senate that we were unable to get this audit report from the auditor general and our hands were tied.”
According to Makarfi, “When the National Economic Council appointed Price Water House to do the same audit, but with a wider scope, their report and our own were not far apart. They had longer terms of reference and longer period to cover. Some people expected us to indict Diezani, she must have committed some other offences but on the issue of the revenue we were probing, the NNPC never presented any document she tampered with or document that shows she approved anything.”
“Everything the NNPC did, they said they were the ones responsible and they were the ones accounting. So, on what basis will you indict any individual? Nobody presented any memo, internal or whatever, to show that for the period our probe covered, Allison-Madueke gave any instruction as regards the missing revenue?” he queried.