TEHRAN - A top Iranian state audit agency says it has found the country’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad responsible for causing as much as $1.1 billion in damages to national wealth through imports of unauthorized gasoline as well as unsettled sales of hydrocarbon products to domestic clients.
Iran’s IRNA news agency quoted a report by the State Audit Department of Iran as announcing that Ahmadinejad would be responsible for returning a total of Rials 46 trillion ($1.1 billion with each dollar at an average current market rate of Rials 40,000) to the Treasury from the revenues of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). However, the mechanism for doing so has not been specified.
The amount, it said, pertained to a series of cases of failures and unauthorized decisions by the former president in handling the trade activities of the NIOC - mostly during his second term in office (2009-2013).
The Department said those cases included imports of gasoline and gasoil which it said had been carried out beyond the country’s needs and without obtaining the required authorizations from the related institutions from 2008 to 2012.
Other cases included the failure of Ahmadinejad’s government to receive payments from sales of condensates to petrochemical plants as well as payments for sales of hydrocarbon products from the NIOC.
One specific case included the failure by his government to receive payments from sales of crude oil delegated by the NIOC to Iran’s police at a total amount of Rials 6 trillion ($150 million with each dollar at an average current market rate of Rials 40,000).
The above payments, the report added, were expected to be settled through mechanisms envisaged in the budget bill for the Iranian calendar year of 1387 (21 March 2007-2008). However, Ahmadinejad’s government failed to do so and the damages to the national wealth thus aggravated over the next years.
The State Audit Department is affiliated to Iran’s Parliament and supervises the performance of state institutions in spending national budget allocations.
Earlier in July Ahmadinejad had reacted to accusations leveled against him by the State Audit Department.
Issuing a statement addressed to the Iranian nation in late July, the former Iranian president said, “Unfortunately and under conditions when the country is facing many foreign and domestic threats and people are under the most severe economic and political and propaganda pressures, powerful and wealthy bands, which are exploiting these conditions, pursue an unmanly scenario against a group of your servants in the ninth and tenth administrations.”
Elsewhere in his statement, Ahmadinejad “categorically” denied the accusations, noting that the remarks made by the prosecutor of the State Audit Department were an example of propagating lies in order to disturb the public opinion and were against the constitution, which necessitated judicial prosecution.
In another development, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, who was head of the official IRNA news agency under Ahmadinejad, wrote in a note published on domestic websites that such differences in accounts were normal in the activities of all administrations and were usually resolved when state accounts were reviewed on the order of concerned authorities.
“In fact, it is the incumbent president, who has been ordered to take this measure, because according to the Department’s opinion, he has to transfer the money from one state account to the Treasury’s account. It goes without saying that the person, who has been formerly the president, does not have the power to do this,” he added.
According to Article 54 of the Constitution, the State Audit Department presents the parliament with the final budget allocation report every year to be read out on the floor of the parliament.