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NNPC Withholding Revenue Under Buhari, Group Says

..NNPC failed to remit 66% of revenue in second half of 2015

..State oil company says current audit will provide answers

Nigeria’s state-owned oil company is still withholding billions of dollars of revenue that should’ve gone to the Treasury despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption stance, according to a report by the National Resource Governance Institute.

While the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. sold crude worth $6.3 billion in the second half of last year, only $2.1 billion was remitted to the Treasury, authors Aaron Sayne and Alexandra Gillies said in the report e-mailed to Bloomberg on Thursday by the London-based group.

The “NNPC therefore retained 66 percent of proceeds,” they said. “This was 12 percent higher than the withholdings under Goodluck Jonathan in 2013 and 2014.”

A forensic audit ordered by the government on the accounts of the state is expected to answer questions “about how much the NNPC has received, how much has been remitted and how much is outstanding,” Garba Deen Muhammad, the spokesman for the company, said by phone on Friday.

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Buhari, who won elections last year that marked the first transition of power in Nigeria from a ruling party to the opposition, had campaigned on an anti-graft platform, promising to clean up the operations of the state oil company. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest crude producer and relies on exports of the fuel for two-thirds of government revenue.