The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has raided the office of Petroleum Product Pricing and Regulatory Agency following an invitation by the petroleum ministry to investigate the management of Nigeria’s fuel subsidy scheme.
EFCC’s operatives on Monday stormed the PPRA office in Abuja demanding documents relating to the administration of petroleum subsidy in Nigeria.
The invitation to the EFCC to investigate the management of the fuel subsidy scheme is in response to demands by Nigerians for transparency and accountability in government, especially in the oil and gas sector.
The EFCC is also expected to make similar visits to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which is central to the management of the petroleum subsidy.
The government agreed to the probe as its part of a bargain that ended Labour Union strike and labour-led protests against the January 1 withdrawal of subsidy on fuel which sparked widespread demand for extensive reforms in government.
The commission is expected to immediately review and investigate all payments made in respect of subsidies and check it against actual importations and to take all necessary steps to prosecute any person(s) involved in any incidence of malfeasance, fraud, overpayments and related illegalities.
The EFCC investigation comes after the senate had conducted a similar investigation on the management of the government’s subsidy on fuel which shot up by over 400 percent in 2011.
The report of the senate investigations are yet to be released but the senate president has promised to ensure those found guilty by the senate investigations would be punished adequately – possibly by the same EFCC.
The EFCC has a reputation for poorly prosecuting its cases against corrupt high net worth individuals and many Nigerians doubt its ability to properly investigate and prosecute culprits in the subsidy scam.
At the onset of the debate on the removal of subsidy on fuel, oil industry players were dubbed a corrupt cabal, more powerful than the government, which has proved incapable of checking their excesses even in the face of glaring corruption.