(BBC) Nigeria’s state-owned oil firm failed to transfer US$16bn to the treasury in 2014, the government says.
An audit of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) showed the amount was withheld without any explanation. This could be the biggest fraud discovery yet. The NNPC is yet to react to the allegation.
A similar allegation made two years ago by then-central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi led to him being sacked by the former government.
He had accused the oil company of failing to remit US$20bn, higher than the present amount.
Nigeria’s oil exports are worth about US$77bn annually, according to oil producers’ group Opec.
But there are allegations some of the funds are diverted to private pockets. Development in Africa’s biggest oil producer and largest economy has been stunted by decades of corruption and mismanagement.
The government’s anti-corruption fight now seems to be shifting to the oil sector.
It started with investigations into the alleged diversion of US$2.1bn meant for weapons to fight the Islamist insurgency in northeast Nigeria.
High profile politicians and some top military officers linked to the alleged arms fraud have been arrested and are being prosecuted.
President Muhammadu Buhari took power after winning elections last year, vowing to fight corruption.