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Audit urges overhaul of Nigeria's state oil company; 'Missing' revenues

Nigeria's state oil company is assuming "carte blanche" and spending nearly half the proceeds from crude oil sales before they reach the treasury, according to a long-awaited audit into billions of dollars of allegedly "missing" oil revenues. The audit, carried out by PwC and published in full late on Monday on the orders of outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan, recommends an "urgent" overhaul of the way Nigeria manages its oil industry, which it describes as "unsustainable". Mr Jonathan commissioned the report last year after Lamido Sanusi , the outspoken former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, claimed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had withheld more than $1bn a month in revenues owed to the treasury between January 2012 and July 2013. PwC does not come up with a headline figure for the total sum of money that should have been remitted to the treasury. But the audit raises questions about the legality and rationale behind a series of multibillion-dollar transactions, including on kerosene and fuel subsidies, as well as the way oil assets were transferred to a subsidiary of the NNPC and the scant revenues derived through third party financing of oil blocks. The auditors found a total of $1.48bn in "duplicate" subsidy claims, comput-ation errors, "unsubstantiated costs" and unpaid taxes - a sum Diezani Allison-Madueke, the petroleum minister, has now ordered the NNPC to refund. They also found a discrepancy of more than $2bn in the total value of crude oil sales. This, and other questions on the reliability of NNPC data, suggests that colossal sums of money passing through the state oil company were barely auditable.