Barring any last-minute change in its plan, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will on Tuesday, at the High Court of Lagos, arraign the first batch of companies believed to have defrauded the country in subsidy claims totalling over N2.7trillion.
A source familiar with the matter told PREMIUM TIMES Monday night that at least six company executives including Mahmud Tukur, the son of the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Bamanga Tukur, would docked to answer questions over their involvement in the monumental fuel scam.
Mahmud is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Eterna Oil Plc, which was indicted in the report, and listed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) among companies that reportedly benefited from the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) Scheme, but defaulted in their tax obligations.
The other board members of the company, who might be put in the dock in the absence of Mahmud, include the former Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) presidential running mate to Nuhu Ribadu in the 2011 election, Fola Adeola, who is the Chairman of the Board; Boyi Tukur and Ojo Michael Ade, owner of Elizade Motors, a Toyota dealership.
It was gathered that the other companies, whose proprietors are to be arraigned, include those owned by the former PDP Chairman and immediate past Chairman of the Board of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Ahmadu Ali.
The subsidy probe report had demanded the prosecution of Mr. Ali for his role in the monumental corruption that characterised the PSF management between 2009 and 2011.
The lawmakers had noted that the proliferation of real and pseudo companies that benefited from allocation of products for imports in the subsidy bazaar took a turn for the worse when the one-time senator was presiding over the Board of the PPPRA as chairman.
The report had shown that at the onset of the PSF scheme in 2006, just six importers were involved in the importation of petroleum products, with the figure progressively increasing to 36 in 2007 and later 49 in 2009 prior to the appointment of Mr. Ali, who single-handedly raised the number to 140 between his assumption of office and 2011.
The report quoted Mr. Ali as admitting that the number of importers was deliberately raised by his board as a ploy to break the major marketers’ stranglehold on the petroleum product supply system to help flood the market with the products in times of scarcity, although observers say it was a way of dispensing patronages to loyal party faithful.
The report cited the example of two promoters (Eco-Regen Limited), who came to Nigerian from the USA with a proposal for waste management contract with the NNPC, but ended up being awarded a plum contract to import 15,000 metric tons of products, for which it collected about N1.99billion as subsidy for products it never supplied.