The EFCC says investigation and prosecution of fuel subsidy cases had not been easy but that it was resolute to bring the cases to logical conclusion
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] has so far recovered about N5billion from persons and organisations indicted in the fuel subsidy scam.
The agency’s Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, made this disclosure in Abuja on Wednesday during a town hall meeting on Fuel Subsidy organised by Africa Network of Economic and Environment Justice, ANEEJ, in collaboration with Justice for All, J4A.
According to Mr. Uwujaren, the EFCC is currently prosecuting 13 different oil subsidy cases, while investigations are on to bring other indicted persons or companies to justice.
“Investigation and prosecution of fuel subsidy cases have not been too easy for us but we are resolute in our determination to ensure that we push all those cases to logical conclusion,” he said.
Mr. Uwujaren however did not provide details of the oil marketers from which the N5 billion were recovered.
While underlining the importance the Commission places on transparency and corruption issues in the oil sector, the EFCC spokesperson said the Commission presently has a full fledge section charged with investigation of oil subsidy matters and other extractive industries issues.
He thanked the organisers of the programme for their initiative saying, “as a Commission, we welcome any initiative that draws public attention to the monumental fraud that we have in the oil subsidy regime”.
Speaking at the event, David Ugolor, Director, ANEEJ, said the purpose of the town hall meeting was to review how the anti-corruption agencies and the judiciary had fared so far in the investigation and prosecution of indicted persons and companies in the fuel subsidy regime and to also agree on measures needed to be taken to put pressure on the Federal Government to do more in bringing indicted persons and and companies to justice.
According to Ugolor, “It is widespread that payments of oil subsidy to oil marketers were inflated and several marketers got paid for doing nothing and expenses charged to subsidy account”.
He emphasised the need to amend the EFCC Act to create “special courts” for prosecution of corruption cases.
Also speaking, Otsemaye Newton of the Justice For All called for more synergy among anti-corruption agencies and the Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, in investigating and prosecuting oil subsidy and other economic and financial crime cases.
Another speaker, Peter Ritchie who spoke on “Fuel Subsidy Fraud Background” criticised the manner public funds are being siphoned and called for prudence in the management of the Petroleum Support Fund.
Mr. Ritchie also stressed the need for financial independence of anti-corruption agencies to further strengthen the war against graft in Nigeria .
He however commended EFCC for the strides recorded in the prosecution of oil subsidy and other corruption cases in Nigeria
More than 40 civil society organisations participated in the town hall meeting.