Subsidy Scam: Trial Of The Bold And Beautiful

:::Arraignment of sons of some influential Nigerians
earlier in the week for alleged subsidy scam mirrors
what may be the level of inequality and flagrant
abuse of privileges in the nation. CHUKA ODITTAH,
in this analysis, appraises the challenges of
securing justice in the face of overriding power play
by various interested parties.
The body language of the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission(EFCC) towards corruption
appears fairly predictable.
The commission as it would seem has progressively
gained public confidence in being able to drag even
‘the high and mighty’ to the court of justice when
found culpable.
As in the past, when the commission arraigned ex-
governors, ex-ministers, and top bureaucrats for
graft charges, the EFCC again on Thursday pushed
the frontiers of its anti-corruption fight further by
docking 20 suspects for allegedly mismanaging the
2011 fuel subsidy fund.
The suspects were arraigned before justices Habeeb
Abiru and Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos High
Court. Mr Abdullahi Alao and Alexergy Limited were
arraigned before Justice Aburu over N2.6bn scam.
Alao who is managing director of Axenergy limited
was arraigned on a seven-count charge of
conspiracy to obtain money under false pretenses,
contrary to section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud
and Other Related Offences Act,2006.
Other suspects in the case, Mahmud Tukur,
MammanNasir Ali, Christian Taylor (a non-Nigerian),
Ochonogor Alex, Eterna plc.andNasaman Oil
Services were arraigned before Justice Onigbanjo.
Nasaman oil, Mamman Nasir and Taylor were
arraigned on three count charge of conspiracy and
obtaining N4.4bn from the Petroleum Support Fund
under false pretense.
Tukur, is the son of the current chairman of the
ruling people’s Democratic Party(PDP), Bamanga
Tukur, while Mamman Nasir Ali, is the son of former
PDP chairman, Ahmadu Ali. Abdullahi Alao, is the
son of wealthy South West businessman
ArishekolaAlao, who alonside other money bags
reportedly splashed huge sums of money on the
incumbent president’s election campaign train just
before the last general poll.
The trial of sons of influential politicians, analysts
say, adds a new dimension to the nation’s
corruption profile. Pundits are now of the view that
the development is akin to Nigerians being taken
for a ride by the cream of the political class who
now groom their offspring to ride on their backs to
milk the nation.
Although the ruling party had in a swift comment
said that the PDP would never interfere with the
prosecution of the case, analysts nevertheless
reason that nothing could be further from the truth.
Many say that keeping with such public pledge may
naturally be difficult because the prosecution of
offspring of key stakeholders by a government, in
which they are partakers, amounts to ‘rocking the
While it may appear permissible for children of
past, or serving politicians to get plumb patronage
from the government of the day,publicists however
argue that such development is unhealthy for the
equitable development of the nation, in addition to
being an abuse of office.
Some publicists liken the scenario to the
disequilibrium in the percentage of people who are
able to seek better education or medical attention
abroad, whereas a great majority of the people are
left with no option than to scamper for inferior and
often scarce services back home.
Analysts are of the opinion that most of the
companies indicted in the subsidy probe are owned
by highly placed persons in the corridors of power.
Their children and wards are merely used to serve
cover-up purposes. This is why publicists argue that
back stage, intense lobbying to get the suspects off
the hook are all too well expected.
Whereas the EFCC and the parliamentary
committee that established the misdemeanors of
indicted marketers deserve commendation, the
ruling party on the other hand deserve no such
Pundits argue that the party literally started a wild
fire of sort, when it hijacked the importation of
Premium Motor Spirit (PMS);delibratelylocalising the
privildges of importing the product to its fold only.
Other than ensuring that prerequisite terms of
engagements were met, it appeared that
comradeship sentiments overshadowed centrality
of the transaction in the first instance.
Observers believe that chances of bringing all
marketers who played a part in the fleecing of
N382bn subsidy funds to justice are slim.This they
say is as a result of the class of personalities
involved in the scam.
This perhaps, underscores the president’s earlier
resolve that all marketers who failed to supply
products for monies released to them should
immediately refund such. But it would appear that
public opinion carried the day, and engineered the
presidency to ‘prosecute all oil thieves’.
While the demand for justice is appropriate to help
stem future corruption, analysts are however of the
opinion that attention should also be given to full
recovery of all amounts in excess of what each
marketer is due.Emphasis on jailing the suspects
alone is defeatist and a line of line of least
resistance worth settling for, if only their loot
remains with them.

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