Twenty one oil companies who disingenuously fleeced Nigeria of billions are behind fuel scarcity, FG says.
Not content with fleecing Nigeria of hundreds of billions of naira through the fuel subsidy scam, indicted oil companies have decided to punish Nigerians by creating artificial fuel scarcity, the Federal Government says.
These companies, 21 of them, were earlier indicted of large scale fraud by the Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede presidential committee which investigated the 2011 fuel subsidy payments.
“It is clear that those behind the strikes are marketers being investigated for possible fraud. These elements have now resorted to hiding behind the unions to unnecessarily antagonize Government and create hardship for Nigerians,” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Finance Minister said in a statement.
Seven of the companies had created fictional ships, which delivered imaginary petrol, for which they got N13 billion naira subsidy payments, Premium Times had exclusively reported.
Some of the others were involved in ship space travel, in which they claimed that vessels that were in China, or UAE, delivered petrol to Nigerian waters at the same time. Nigeria lost 21 billion naira to this category of fraudulent companies.
Already, petrol stations in Abuja are filled with long queues as road users struggle for the little petrol available. Should the Marketers oil workers go ahead with their strike which would commence next week, the rest of the country would join in the fuel scarcity.
We remain undaunted In the statement, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said government remained committed to seeing its actions through despite the scarcity.
The minister said following the submission of the report of the Aig-Imoukhuede committee that investigated the payments, the federal government has paid all marketers with “legitimate and unencumbered” claims and that such marketers will continue to be paid.
Between April and May 2012, two batches involving 14 oil marketers with a claim of N17 billion were settled while N25.6 billion worth of claims were paid since early July 2012, the minister said.
In all, between April and August this year N42.666 billion have been paid to 31 oil marketers.
“Government will continue to encourage honest efforts by genuine companies engaged in fuel importation but we will not fall for the cheap blackmail of indicted marketers who are using all kinds of subterfuge to escape sanctions,” he minister said.
The companies punishing Nigeria The companies the finance minister mentioned include Conoil Plc, owned by billionaire and major financier of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mike Adenuga; Alminnur resources ltd; Brilla energy ltd; and Eterna plc, headed by Mahmud Tukur who is the son of the national chairman of the PDP, Bamanga Tukur. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is already prosecuting the younger Tukur for his role in the subsidy scam, and he has since been granted bail by the court.
Other companies involved are Caades oil and gas ltd, Capital oil and gas industry ltd, Downstream energy source ltd, Euraafric oil and gas ltd, Lumen skies ltd and Majope investment ltd.