Fuel Subsidy Probe: SFU Seeks Prosecution of Two Firms

20 Nov 2012

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Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede

By Tokunbo Adedoja and Okon Bassey

The Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigerian Police Force is seeking to prosecute two oil marketing and trading (OM&T) companies and the recovery of N43,284,602,136.13, being the subsidy payments claimed by the two firms for 28 transactions that were not verified as legitimate.

Also, the Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy payments wants the transactions of 48 other firms investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the SFU.

This came as the Federal Government Monday expressed concern over mismanagement, inefficiency and lack of transparency in the extractive sector of the economy.

These were the findings and recommended actions to be taken as contained in the Aig-Imoukhuede committee report on PMS Shore Tank Discharges and Sales Proceeds for 2011 obtained exclusively by THISDAY.

The two companies, which the SFU has concluded should be prosecuted for a number of criminal infractions and is demanding the recovery of the funds claimed as subsidy on imported fuel are Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited and Caades Oil and Gas Ltd.

The report of the committee showed that Caades Oil and Gas Ltd was involved two transactions and claimed N9993,558,199.59, while Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited was involved in 26 transactions and claimed total subsidy of N43,291,043,936.54.

The report said due to the extent of irregularities established during the review of the two companies, none of the 28 transactions could be verified as legitimate, and therefore, the SFU had concluded that the companies should be prosecuted and the amount of subsidy claimed be recovered.

The 48 other oil marketing and trading companies whose transactions could not be verified as legitimate were referred to the SFU, while those already undergoing investigation by the EFCC were referred to the commission.

In the case of Spog Petroleum Ltd, which had 11 transactions and claimed a total amount of N12,157,563,405.86, the report noted that criminal investigation had been initiated by the Federal Government involving a number of its transactions, though the committee still referred these transactions to the EFCC.

The report said all the 20 transactions by Matrix Energy, valued at N23,074,416,154.95 could not be varied as legitimate and therefore referred those transactions to the SFU for investigation, while in the  in the case of Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, 32 transactions with subsidy claims totalling N41,225,714, 357.07 were verified as legitimate but  due to the nature of irregularities established in two transactions valued at N2,908,996,291.29, they were referred for investigation.

The report noted that Eterna Plc, which carried out nine transactions and claimed a total amount of N9,260,029,689.91, declined to submit itself to the committee’s review on the grounds that it was being prosecuted for subsidy related issues by EFCC. Those transactions were still referred to EFCC for investigation.

For Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd, all its six transactions valued at N8,697,762,027.67 were referred to EFCC for investigations, while Honeywell Oil and Gas, which engaged in 21 transactions valued at N19,972,256,187.69, had nine of those transactions valued at N8,604,912,618.35 referred to the EFCC.

Acorn Plc, which claimed N13,678,424,575.45 in respect of 11 transactions, had six of the transactions valued at N7,126,705,707.33 referred to SFU.

The report further noted that the two transactions valued N3,143,671,202.84 carried out by Lingo Oil and Gas Company Ltd, which could not be verified as legitimate,  were referred to EFCC, though the agency is already investigating the company.

Also, Mojope Investment Ltd with one transaction valued at N1,110,049,444.35;  ASB Investment Company, with three transactions valued at N3,016,551,783.83; Capital Oil Plc with two transacttions valued at N1,216,298,517.20; and Ceoti Ltd with three transactions valued at N4,085,691,466.33 had all their transactions referred to the EFCC,  which is already investigating the three companies.

Another Company, Mob Integrated Services Ltd, with three transactions valued at N5,393,592,906.62 had one transaction valued at N3,261,263,992.52 verified as legitimate while two other transactions were referred to EFCC for investigation.

In the case of Top Oil and Gas Development Company Ltd, all its seven transactions valued at N8,784,159,205.96 were referred to the EFCC because they could not be verified as legitimate.
Also, Menol Oil and Gas Ltd, had all its nine transactions valued at N7,141,605,716.79 referred to the SFU because none could be verified as legitimate.

For Sifax Oil and Gas Ltd, the company was found to have been involved in four transactions valued at N6,078,017,303.57 but one of the transactions valued at N1,033,119,489.60 was referred to SFU for investigation.

Dissatisfied with the activities in the sector, President Goodluck Jonathan spoke of plans by the Federal Government to build a better system and procedure to strengthen the capacity of relevant government agencies in order to halt mismanagement but promote efficiency and transparency in the sector.

Declaring open a retreat for Board members of the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, the president stressed that his administration was prepared to actualise transparency in the extractive sector, where the revenues are accounted for and used for the benefit of Nigerians.

Represented by the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, the president made known that in the next few weeks, the Inter-Ministerial Task  Team (IMTT) would be strengthen by re-inaugurating it with senior government officials identified as key to the reforms of the extractive sector in the country to implement the remedial issues arising from the NEITI audit findings.

The president lauded the theme of the retreat “From Transparency to Accountability,” refocusing the NEITI to move from its present position of enthroning transparency to recording measurable and visible impacts in the lives of Nigerians.

Tags: News, Nigeria, Featured, Fuel Subsidy Probe, SFU, EFCC

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