14 September 2012

Nigeria: Subsidy - Firm Sues House, CBN for Defamation

One of the companies allegedly indicted in the fuel subsidy probe by the Hon. Farouk Lawan-led Ad hoc Committee on the Administration of Petroleum Subsidy has dragged the House of Representatives alongside the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Skye Bank Plc to court over wrongful accusation and defamation of character.

THISDAY gathered that the aggrieved company, Serene Greenfields Limited, had written to the House of Representatives, CBN and Skye Bank to clarify their roles in the said subsidy probe, which it claimed were false, wrongful and damaging publications.

Lawan's committee had on page 145 under the sub-heading; "Financial Infractions" indicted about 15 oil companies/marketers including Serene Greenfields ltd, for allegedly obtaining a combined forex of $337,842,663.86 and $64,767,763.22 in 2010 and 2011 respectively "but were not found to have supplied and collected subsidy on petroleum products".

The statement from the report read: "Some marketers were found to have obtained FOREX for petroleum products importation in the relevant years of 2009,2010 and 2011, but could not be found to have utilised same for the purposes they were meant.

This was established by comparing CBN submissions on FOREX and PPRA details of products supplies under the subsidy regime.

"The table hereunder (which it listed the 15 companies) is intended to expose those who may have exploited the subsidy regime to engage in money laundering activities."

"The marketers identified under this category should be referred to Relevant Anti-Corruption Agencies for further investigation with a view to establishing what they utilised the Forex obtained for," the statement read further.

However, the company in a letter dated April 23, 2012 asked its banker and financier, Skye Bank Plc, from which it obtained loan for its business, to immediately issue "a letter to the Committee highlighting the fact that the company was never involved in any PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) imports and that the transaction in question was an AGO (Automated Gas Oil) transaction which was followed to the end.

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