The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has countered allegation that he was one of the signatories to a report of the Senate Committee on Finance pertaining to the investigation of the missing $20billion that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation is alleged not to have paid into the coffers of the government.
This is the second time in four months that Saraki will be denying the accusation, which was made during the later days of his tenure by the former governor of the Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who is now the Emir of Kano.
The senator made the denial yesterday in reference to a story in Thisday newspaper, in which he was listed as one of the signatories to the report of the committee on Finance on the investigation of the funds.
In a press statement, the Special Adviser on Media and Advocacy to Saraki, Bamikole Omishore said, “While we are not denying the fact that Senator Saraki is a member of the Senate committee on Finance, and whereas we also [acknowledge] that Senator Saraki participated actively in almost all of the committee’s assignment as it affects the investigation of the unremitted US$48.9 billion oil revenue by NNPC, the office of Senator Saraki wish to state categorically and further deny that Senator Bukola Saraki, representing Kwara Central Senatorial District of Kwara State did not SIGN any committee report as it affects the said investigation contrary to the impression given in the said Thisday publication . This is totally not correct.”
For purposes of clarification, he said the names listed in the report as published by Thisday newspaper report are just the names of the members of the Committee and nothing more.
Drawing attention to the numerous phone calls, sms and emails coming into Mr. Saraki’s office as a result of the story, the Special Adviser said his clarification was for record purposes, as well as for the attention of the editor/publisher of Thisday as well as the public.
It would be recalled that on May 29, Senator Saraki issued a statement saying that the committee had cleared neither the NNPC nor the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke the investigation.
In its report submitted to the Senate earlier that week, the committee, headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, had reportedly said “there was never any unremitted $49.8 billion,” and that “the total crude oil lifting from January 2012 to July 2013 was $67 billion and not $65 billion as the CBN Governor had presented.”
In his response, Senator Saraki pointed out that the committee had not concluded its investigation, citing the fact that the forensic audit of NNPC’s accounts was continuing.