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Nigeria Auditors Need Up to 16 Weeks to Account for Oil Funds

May 8 (Bloomberg) -- PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Nigeria’s government auditor will need 12 to 16 weeks to “clarify” what happened to billions of dollars of oil revenue alleged to be missing, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.

The company based in New York will help the government of Africa’s biggest oil producer to find crude proceeds probably not accounted for, she told delegates today at the World Economic Forum in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

Central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi, 52, who said there were missing funds, was suspended for alleged “financial recklessness and misconduct,” Jonathan’s spokesman Reuben Abati said in a Feb. 20 statement. He was replaced by his deputy, Sarah Alade, as acting governor. The announcement halted bond trading and sent the naira to a record low.

Sanusi wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan late last year alleging the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. had retained almost $50 billion in revenue that was due to the government. He later amended the figures to $12 billion at a news briefing with the finance minister before raising them to $20 billion at a Feb. 4 meeting with lawmakers. The NNPC has denied the allegations.

Jonathan’s office said that under Sanusi’s watch the central bank was “distracted” from its mandate.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Kay in Abuja at ckay5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net Dulue Mbachu, Antony Sguazzin

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