Labour minister’s company fingered in alleged N2.7bn fuel subsidy fraud

Chukwuemeka Wogu, Minister of Labour

The minister of labour, Emeka Wogu, was vociferous in his condemnation of last January’s protests against the removal of fuel subsidy.

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, owns Pinnacle Contractors Limited, an organization fingered to have fraudulently received N2.7 billion in the fuel subsidy scam, a former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye, has alleged.

Mr. Melaye made this allegation in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES. The former lawmaker said Mr. Wogu; his wife, Oyababefe; and son, Enyinnaya were pioneer directors of the company until July this year.

Mr. Wogu was recently appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan to head a white paper committee set up to review an oil-industry probe report. But Mr. Melaye said he should be sacked as it would mean the Federal Government rewarding him from partaking in robbing Nigeria.

“It is shameful and disgraceful that the Minister of Labor and Productivity… has now been indicted in the illegal payment of N2.7 billion to a company for fuel that was never supplied,” said Mr. Melaye.

He said Mr. Wogu should not be allowed to “be a judge in his own case.”

Who owns Pinnacle Contractors?

Pinnacle Contractors Limited, with its business address at Plot 1227 Oka Akoko Close, Garki, Area 11, Abuja, said it is a general contractor, and involved in construction, farming, oil and gas, transport as well as travel agency.

According to documents made available by Mr. Melaye, Mr. Wogu owned three-quarter of the company’s shares while the remaining was split between his wife and son.

While the minister was removed from the board of the company two years ago, his wife and son were removed on July 20 in a “quack” resolution, Mr. Melaye said.

At a directors’ resolution on April 7, 2010, the company said Mr. Wogu was removed from the board while Oyababefe and Enyinnaya were re-appointed.

However, in July this year, in a move that smacks of “quack”, Mr. Wogus’s wife and son were removed while an entirely new board was reconstituted.

Those in the new board – with the company’s shares spread evenly between them are Uju Obi; Felix Eribo; Femi Sotunde; and Ogbonnaya Onu.

“The resolution that purportedly removed the two directors dated 20th July, 2012, was not signed by the old directors. This whole thing must have been done by a quack or amateur. It was forged,” Mr. Melaye alleged.

“(In) the form Co7 of 7th April 2012, the signature of Emeka Wogu is conspicuously missing because they couldn’t copy it,” he added.

The former Kogi State federal lawmaker also alleged that all the resolutions’ signatures were forged because they differ from the original signatures on the memo and article.

The Labour and Productivity minister has repeatedly claimed that neither him nor any member of his family is connected with Pinnacle Contractors Limited.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, however, said that they are still investigating the ‘pseudo owners’ of the company.

In his recent media chat President Goodluck Jonathan reiterated his administration’s resolve to fight the unprecedented rot in the petroleum industry.

After the controversy that trailed the Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force; President Jonathan appointed Mr. Wogu to head the White Paper Committee on the report.

The Labour Minister was vociferous in his condemnation of last January’s protests against the removal of fuel subsidy.

At a point, he made the now infamous statement that “we don’t have to explain to the people we rule.”

The Federal Government had also appointed  Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, whose younger relative is on the board of one of the indicted oil firms –Ice Energy, to do a probe of subsidy payments.

Similarly, Steve Oronsaye and Bernard Otti, members of the Nuhu Ribadu led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, allegedly abandoned their jobs to secure positions at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, the nation’s oil corporation that they were meant to investigate.

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