Reps panel seeks PwC’s suspension over probe report
IRKED by its alleged shoddy audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) on the allegedly missing $20 million, the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has called on the incoming administration to suspend PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) from any future audit or investigation on behalf of the Federal Government or any of its agencies with immediate effect.
PwC, after its forensic probe, had given the corporation a clean bill of health on the missing $20 billion, only to recently say it could not vouch for its findings. In a letter to Nigeria’s Auditor General, the firm said that findings in its 199-page report were limited to available information and did not constitute a review in accordance with generally accepted standards.
“The procedures we performed did not constitute an examination or a review in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards or attestation standards,” the firm said. “Accordingly, we provide no opinion, attestation or other form of assurance with respect to our work or the information upon which our work was based.”
In view of this, Chairman of the Committee and senator-elect for Lagos West Federal Constituency, Solomon Olamilekan, at the weekend called on the President-Elect, Maj.-Gen. Mohammadu Buhari, to revisit the issue and also ensure that appropriate sanctions were meted to the audit firm.
He further urged the Federal Government to kick-start the process to immediately facilitate a refund of the fee paid to the firm for the audit exercise. Olamilekan told newsmen at the National Assembly that the issue was “too weighty” to be treated with levity.
“The incoming Federal Government must come after this firm, ensure that all these anomalies and misrepresentation of facts and figures to deceive Nigerians all this while must be brought to book. This firm must be adequately sanctioned.”
He disclosed that the panel “had requested for this all-important forensic report to be laid before the National Assembly and a copy sent to the committee within a specified period. Now, the PricewaterhouseCoopers has said there is no report.
“We noticed that there was foul play in that particular report as submitted by this reputable firm, wherein the report adjudged that the only amount of money the NNPC ought or need to pay back is just $1.485 billion.
“PricewaterhouseCoopers has said there is no report, that what they did was not a forensic audit but just gathering of information; that a lot of documents were not released to them to carry out this exercise. But prior to now, all these were not brought to the notice of this country and the country has been deceived all along. Now, no audit was carried out.
“At a point, there was a lot of figures in the air – $4.985 billion as against $1.485 billon. And if a reputable firm like PricewaterhouseCoopers could go to that level, I think it is only fair and proper for such body to be reported to the International Federation of Accounting and the Institute of Chattered Accountants of Nigeria, which I believe the firm is an affiliated body, to face disciplinary action, to explain their role in this $20 billon saga.
“Also, I call on the incoming government to henceforth suspend PricewaterhouseCoopers from carrying out any financial audit or investigation on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria or into any of its agencies, with immediate effect.”