- Category: Corruption
- Published on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 15:23
- Written by Ogbuefi Ndigbo
- Hits: 905
One name that rings a bell on the list of companies indicted by the subsidy committee is MAIZUBE PETROLEUM. The company has been ordered to refund a huge sum of 5.5 billion Naira to the government.
The House of Rep investigation last week ordered the Nigeria's anti-corruption agency, the EFCC to recover the amount in fuel subsidy payments received by Maizube Petroleum, owned by the former Head of State Geneneral Abdulsalaam Abubakar.
The national assembly's fuel subsidy report said 18 firms, including Mobil Oil Nigeria, never produced the documents that would prove the subsidy funds they received from government tallied with the amount of fuel they imported.
MAIZUBE Petrol Stations, located in the Bwari District of the Federal Capital Territory never seem to have any PETROL.
More than 126 oil marketers and top officials of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) should be investigated and prosecuted by anti-graft agencies – if the authorities accept the recommendations of the Committee.
They are to be probed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)," said the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee which probed the controversial subsidy Report.
We are trying to unravel why the report is silent on the oil companies belonging to Femi Otedola and Aliko Dangote too. These are known to have been paid billions in the oil subsidy scam too.
I learnt that the original report indicted Dangote's firm.
My friend Yinka Odumakin said Femi Otedola is said to have been augmenting Goodluck Jonathan financially since the days of Yar'adua when the then Vice President was not getting enough cowries. He practically moved into the villa when late President Yar'adua expired and the place has become his second address.
Femi and Dangote are Obasanjo boys who have been in the business of holding slush funds for the PDP.
According to reports, Dangote was said to have gone to the villa to demand that on no account must his own firm be indicted if Otedola's own was not.
Apart from local companies, the subsidy report said Nigeria's anti-corruption agency should also recover 14.93 billion naira in fuel subsidy payments received by the foreign Firm, Exxon Mobil's Nigerian downstream subsidiary.
Mobil Oil's bill was three times larger than the next biggest amount owing and more than 10 times bigger than the majority of firms named, the report said. The other companies were non-listed Nigeria-based downstream firms.
"These companies deliberately refused to appear because they had something to hide," the report said, listing the amount Nigeria's anti-corruption agency should recover from each firm.
Mobil Oil public affairs manager Akin Fatunke told Reuters the firm was never officially invited to the parliamentary hearing. Exxon owns 60 percent of the Nigerian downstream arm and the rest is held by shareholders.
There are several investigations and audits going on into the fuel subsidy, including by the anti-corruption agency. Mobil Oil said it had duly complied with the hearing by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission because they got an invitation.
Nigeria tried in vain to end gasoline subsidies on Jan. 1, but a week of public protests forced the government to partially re-instate the payments, seen as a massive drain on its budget.
The protests prompted a wave of audits and probes into why fuel subsidy costs were spiralling out of control.
The central bank governor, lawmakers and government ministers said Nigeria was spending billions of dollars more on fuel subsidies than was in the budget, and buying billions of litres more than were actually consumed.
Part of the probe was to uncover companies which collected subsidy payments but never imported fuel or sold the fuel to neighbouring countries where fuel prices are not subsidised and therefore much higher than in Nigeria.
Investigators looking into the subsidy found importers were being paid for 59 million litres a day, while the country only consumes 35 million.
So we have a giant subsidy scam, and to rectify the problem, a boggling 126 oil marketeers and top officials of the PPPRA should be investigated and prosecuted by the EFCC and ICPC!
126 oil marketers! Is there any clean company left in the oil marketing business?
Ogbuefi Ndigbo Writes