Senate to start fresh fuel subsidy probe

Nigerian Senate
Nigerian Senate

The Senate on Sunday said it will probe the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and Independent Marketers over alleged irregularities in the subsidy fund.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Kabiru Marafa, said this while briefing journalists in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Mr. Marafa noted that the NNPC has failed to justify to satisfaction the near N5.2 trillion spent on subsidy for importation of petroleum products from 2006 to 2016.

The sum, Mr. Marafa said, was in addition to the 445,000 barrels of crude oil for domestic consumption.

“This is more than the annual budget of Nigeria,” the senator noted.

“We note allegations already brought to our attention concerning the importation of Automotive Gas Oil under various import contracts wherein hundreds of millions of litres of AGO have been imported and allocated to choice marketers at discounted values,” he added.

Mr. Marafa noted that the committee had also established the disappearance of 100 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit worth N14 billion kept in the custody of two companies, stressing that it would invite NNPC’s past and present executives,heads of operations and planning and desk management officers responsible for purchasing of products sold to Nigeria.

Commenting further, Mr. Marafa, said, “It is pertinent to stress that where invitees fail to cooperate with us, then adequate sanctions shall be carried out ranging from publishing of names of industry news providers.

“Where relevant reward and incentives will be available to support the courage of members of the public who come forward.”

Mr. Marafa also disclosed that the committee would also implement its own Whistle Blower platform to enable it get information on corrupt practices, adding that, in addition, it would conduct a three-day public hearing on the issue.

The Senate had on Wednesday alleged corruption in the marketing of products as well as in accounts operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, between 2006 and 2016.

Previous subsidy probes by the executive and the parliament during the Goodluck Jonathan administration indicted several firms some of whom are being prosecuted and few convicted.

Last Wednesday, the Senate resolved to mandate its committee on petroleum (downstream) to “exhaustively” investigate the state-owned oil corporation over its accounts relating to fuel subsidy and alleged abuse of product marketing and distribution.

The Senate’s resolution followed a motion by Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi West) who expressed worry that corruption in the NNPC persists despite the anti-corruption posture of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

“The independent marketers account for 49 per cent of the imported petroleum products while NNPC accounts for 51 per cent of imported products, but this does not justify the huge amount it has been paid as subsidy in the last 10years,” Mr. Melaye had said.


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