19 August 2014

Nigeria: Oil Subsidy Fraud - EFCC Recovers N5 Billion

Photo: Leadership
Corruption in Nigeria

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has so far recovered about N5billion from persons and organisations indicted in the fuel subsidy scam.

The agency's head, media and publicity, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, made this disclosure during a town hall meeting on fuel subsidy organised by Africa Network of Economic and Environment Justice, ANEEJ, in collaboration with Justice for All, J4A, in Abuja.

According to Uwujaren, the EFCC is currently prosecuting 13 different oil subsidy cases, while investigations are on to bring other indicted persons or companies to justice. "Investigation and prosecution of fuel subsidy cases have not been too easy for us but we are resolute in our determination to ensure that we push all those cases to logical conclusion," he said.

Underlining the importance the commission places on transparency and corruption issues in the oil sector, Uwujaren said the EFCC presently has a full-fledged section charged with investigation of oil subsidy matters and other extractive industries issues.

He thanked the organisers of the programme for their initiative, saying "as a commission, we welcome any initiative that draws public attention to the monumental fraud that we have in the oil subsidy regime".

David Ugolor, director, ANEEJ, said the purpose of the town hall meeting was to review how the anti-corruption agencies and the judiciary have fared so far in the investigation and prosecution of indicted persons and companies in the fuel subsidy regime and to also agree on measures needed to be taken to put pressure on the federal government to do more in bringing indicted persons and or companies to justice.

According to Ugolor, "it is widespread that payments of oil subsidy to oil marketers were inflated and several marketers got paid for doing nothing and expenses charged to subsidy account". He emphasised the need to amend the EFCC Act to create "special courts" for prosecution of corruption cases.

Otsemaye Newton, J4A, called for more synergy among the anti-corruption agencies and the civil society organisations in investigating and prosecuting oil subsidy and other economic and financial crimes cases.

Some of the individuals, firms being prosecuted by EFCC

The EFCC has filed 11 cases before Lagos High Court and the Federal High Court in Lagos where it is prosecuting many individuals and firms before four judges.

Some of those being prosecuted by the EFCC for fuel subsidy support fund scam include Mahmud Tukur, son of the former PDP Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who is being prosecuted for alleged N1.8billion fuel subsidy fraud.

Others are Ochonogor Alex, Abdullahi Alao, son of the late prominent businessman, Alhaji Abdullazeez Arisekola -Alao, who is being prosecuted for N1.2 billion fuel subsidy.

The suspects also include Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, Mamman, son of a former PDP Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, and Christian Taylor, who are facing N4.4billion fraud.

Others are Chinyere Anike Nweze, Ogundipe Olaniyan, Olarenwaju Olalusi, Opeyemi Ajuyah, Samuel Owa, Oassisi Wajutom, Rowaye Jubril, Walter Wagbatsoma, Adaoha Ugo-Ndagi, Fakuade Baba Femi and Ezekiel Ejike. EFFC is prosecuting Wagbatsoma over his alleged involvement in N414million fraud.

Some of the firms being prosecuted include Stone Bridge Oil Ltd, Vibrant Ventures Ltd, Majope Investment Ltd, Axenergy Ltd, Geacan Energy Limited, Petroleum Brokers Limited.

Others are Eterna Oil and Gas Plc, Brila Energy Ltd and Ontario Oil and Gas.

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