Presidential panel indicts 21 firms

The Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede
led Presidential Committee
on Verification and
Reconciliation of Fuel
Subsidy Payments has
indicted 21 oil firms for
allegedly defrauding the
nation of N382 billion
through fuel subsidy claims.
The committee disclosed
this on Tuesday while
submitting its report to
President Goodluck Jonathan
at the Presidential Villa.
While briefing journalists
after the presentation, Aig-
Imokhuede declined to
name the culprits, stating
that it was "unwise" to do so before the federal authorities act on the recommendations of the
committee, which include criminal investigation and prosecution of the indicted firms.
The committee head further disclosed that although all the 116 oil marketing firms that
participated in the subsidy scheme were invited by the committee for interviews, only 107
He said the total subsidy claims and payments involved amounted to N403 billion, but the
committee was able to authenticate and clear only N21 billion, while the whopping balance of
N382 billion remained in contention and would need to be recovered from those indicted.
"Out of the N422 billion identified by the Technical Committee which I chaired, the Presidential
Committee took steps to identify and remove duplication, which may have been contained in
the Technical Committee's report, which was also discovered in the course of the panel's
interviews," he explained.
"Of the N422 billion, N18 billion was found to be duplication. So, the actual amount that was
being verified is N403 billion. Of this amount, N21 billion was cleared and that leaves N382
billion as the sum in contention, for which the committee recommended that the process of
recovery should be made.
"We have six categories of issues. For likely fraudulent cases for criminal investigation, you
have 21 OM&T affected. We have short-time certificate issues; we have also number of OMT
involved in irregular payments, and so on."
He said the committee, which comprised of experts in the banking and oil sectors as well as
State Security Services (SSS), did a thorough job and ensured fairness of the process.
Aig-Imokhuede noted that though it may be impossible to recover the entire fraudulent
payments, the experts on the committee had also made recommendations on how substantial
recoveries could be made from the culprits.
According to him, the committee made 22 recommendations to the President, which included
the recovery of the fraudulent payments.
"The next [recommendation] is possible criminal investigation and prosecution of the OM&Ts
that are found to have engaged in likely fraudulent issues," he said.
"Also, the external auditors and any government functionaries who served will be further
interviewed to determine the roles if any in the issues that were discussed.
"We also recognise the need for the accelerated implementation of all the recommendations
in the Technical Committee report."
He added that a lasting solution to scams of this manner lay in the deregulation of the
petroleum downstream sector, such that the issue of claiming and paying subsidies would not
arise again.
The Minister of Justice and federal Attorney-General, Bello Adoke, who was also at the
briefing, explained that the committee's work was complementary to the different
investigations being carried out on the scam by the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFFC) and the House of Representatives.
"We are going to recover this money and we are going to set the process for recovery
alongside the prosecution," he said.
The committee, which was constituted by President Jonathan on July 5, 2012, was given the
following terms of reference:
1. To further verify and reconcile all claims made in the report of the Technical Committee
on Fuel Subsidy Payments;
2. To properly identify all cases of overpayment and/or irregular payment;
3. To accurately identify all likely fraudulent cases for criminal investigation; and
4. To review any other pertinent issues that may arise from its work and make appropriate

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