- Water-tight security in Kano •7 churches, 8 shops razed - Police
- Terror suspect nabbed with N3m •As army uncovers bomb factory
- 2012, deadliest year for journalists - UN
- Court adjourns on missing N12.4bn oil windfall
- Why we cleared Molete under-bridge - Oyo govt
- Court jails courier over $286,400 cash
- Court rejects fridge repairer’s plea to keep Ibori’s bribe money
- Oyo to involve artisans in N.5bn schools rehabilitation contracts
- All set for LG poll today in Benue
- Mrs Braithwaite buried amid encomiums
- Forget presidency, Jonathan’s aide tells ex-military rulers
- FG sends delegation to Onaiyekan’s consecration, Suntai
Fuel Subsidy Scandal: 21 More Indicted Companies Exposed •FG Pays Marketers N510b In 8 Months •As Nationwide Scarcity Looms
According to the minister, the companies are being investigated under the fuel subsidy regime.
This claim was contained in a statement by her Special Assistant on Media, Mr Paul Nwabuikwu.
The statement said the firms were being investigated based on the report of the Presidential Committee on Fuel Subsidy Payments headed by Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.
The companies are: Alminnur Resources Ltd, Brilla Energy Ltd, Caades Oil and Gas Ltd, Capital Oil and Gas Industry Ltd, Downstream Energy Source Ltd. and Eterna Plc.
Others are: Euraafric Oil and Gas Ltd, Lumen Skies Ltd, Majope Investment Ltd, Matrix Energy Ltd, Menon Oil and Gas Ltd, Mob International Services and M.R.S. Oil and Gas Ltd.
The rest include; Nasaman Oil Services Ltd, Natacel Petroleum Ltd, Ocean Energy Trading and Services, Pinnacle Contractors Ltd, Sifax Oil and Gas Company, Tonique Oil Services Ltd and Top Oil and Gas Development Co. Ltd.
The statement noted that the Aig-Imoukhuede committee’s report recommended that the firms should refund various sums to the government’s treasury.
Also, the statement listed a second group of companies with infractions considered by the government and the Aig-Imoukhuede committee as “ relatively minor.”
According to the statement, the categories of companies were already holding discussion with the government for a quick resolution of all the inherent issues.
It gave conditions in which the government was prepared to settle their claims.
“For oil marketers under investigation for possible refunds to the government, their 2012 outstanding claims will be netted out against their expected refunds to government.
“For those with a positive net balance, that is outstanding claims greater than expected refunds will be processed and paid.”
The statement added that for marketers that owed government more in refunds than government owe them, the Aig-Imoukhuede committee would accelerate review of their documents after the Eid-el- Fitr public holidays.
It assured Nigerians that claims for marketers in this category would be processed and settled, if cleared, without further delay after the public holiday.
“For others that may not be in the above categories but who have other issues or claims, their claims will also be addressed with the same dispatch,” it stated.
The statement reiterated that the ministry was not responsible for the looming fuel supply shortage in Abuja and its environs.
“ It is clear that those behind the strikes are marketers being investigated. These elements have now resorted to hiding behind the unions to unnecessarily antagonise government and create hardship for Nigerians.
“We want to make it clear that government will fully investigate their activities, and if found guilty, bring them to book and recover all public funds fraudulently obtained, in the guise of fuel subsidy claims.
“No degree of blackmail will stop the government from doing its work. Government will, therefore, pursue justice and ensure that those who are found guilty are appropriately sanctioned.”
The statement reaffirmed that between April and August, the Sovereign Debt Notes amounting to N42.66 billion were issued to 31 oil marketers, in respect of the 2012 fuel subsidy claims.
It declared,“these are incontrovertible facts which confirm government’s commitment to ensuring that issues concerning genuine marketers with legitimate claims are dealt with expeditiously.”
It is recalled that some marketers had earlier alleged that the government was owing them billions of naira, hence the resurgence of long queues in some fuel stations in the Federal Capital Territory.
Accusing the oil marketers of deliberately blackmailing the government and trying to inflict untold hardship on innocent Nigerians, Dr Okojo-Iweala, had, on Thursday, told reporters “that some of those, who have been told that they have a case to answer, have organised and want to hold the nation to ransom.”
Meanwhile, oil companies with minor infractions, according to the minister, will be given a room for discussion for a quick resolution on the following three conditions:
“For oil marketers under investigation for possible refunds to the government, their 2012 outstanding claims will be netted out against their expected refunds to government and those with a positive net balance that is outstanding claims greater than expected refunds will be processed and paid,” she stated.
“For marketers with a negative balance with government, that is they owe government more in refunds than government owes them, the Aig-Imoukhuede committee will accelerate review of their documents after the Sallah break so that their claims can be processed and settled, if cleared, without further delay.
“ For others that may not be in the above categories but who have other issues or claims, their claims will also be attended to with the same despatch,” the minister stated.
Meanwhile, THE fuel scarcity that has resurfaced in Abuja for the past few days may spread to other parts of the country as subsidy fund appears fast-depleting.
Out of the N888billion earmarked for subsidy payment this year, a whopping N510billion had been spent with scores of oil marketers yet to be settled.
According to Saturday Tribune investigations; with four months to the end of the year, the government may need to source for fund to settle the arrears of marketers running into several billions of naira and still meet the subsidy obligations to marketers for the remaining months or risk a nationwide fuel crisis.
So far, the government has paid about N510.66billion to 31 oil marketers from January 2012 till date.
The subsidy paid comprised N451bn paid as fuel subsidy arrears for last year; an additional N17billion paid early in the year and the Sovereign Debt Notes of N42.666 billion issued to oil marketers by the Debt Management Office following a directive by the Coordinating Minister of the economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to that effect.
Though the Minister could not readily give the figures of subsidy claims by marketers, report of the Presidential Committee on the Verification and Reconciliation of the subsidy claims, headed by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank indicated that both the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the marketers made total claims of N2,109,386,944,946.92 in 2011. The NNPC alone claimed N981,734,423,649.56, while the oil marketing and trading companies submitted claims of N1,127,652,521,297.36.
Of the N981.7 billion claims submitted by NNPC for 2011, the corporation allegedly paid itself N764,944,448,471.72 in 2011 by deducting it directly from the cost of crude oil allocated it by the Federal Government.
NNPC, it was gathered, allegedly deducted another N210 billion in 2012, leaving N6.78 billion as government’s outstanding obligation.
In 2012, the corporation submitted fresh claims of N310,362,437,515.12 as arrears from 2009, 2010 and 2011, bringing its total outstanding arrears for 2011 to N317.15 billion.
Of the N1.125 trillion claims made by the oil marketing and trading companies in 2011, the Government paid N866,665 billion to the private marketers in 2011, while another N246.171 billion was paid in 2012 as part of the 2011 arrears, leaving a balance of N12.8 billion.
However, in 2012 the marketers submitted additional claims of N54.48 billion as arrears of 2011, bringing their total unpaid arrears to N67.298 billion.
Commenting on the nature of subsidy payment, the minister debunked reports that the government had suspended the payment of subsidy to oil marketers, saying the need to ensure an effective management of the fuel subsidy regime was responsible for the current staggered payments.
On the fuel crisis in Abuja, the Minister of State for Finance, Dr Lawan Yerima Ngama, on his part, alleged that fuel queues were instigated by indicted oil marketers.
The Minister said that the claim that some marketers had embarked on strike because the government had failed to pay them for fuel import was not accurate.
According to him, the true position was that the government had been meeting its obligations to oil marketers in respect of all legitimate claims.
For instance, the minister claimed that between April and May 2012, batches D/12 and E/12 involving 14 oil marketers with a claim of N17billion, were fully settled through the issuance of Sovereign Debt Notes and other relevant documemntation.
Dr Ngama said since the directive by Okonjo-Iweala to DMO to continue payments of all verified claims, N25.6billion worth of claims had been fully settled with the issuance of Sovereign Debt Notes.
In all, he said between April and August this year, in respect of 2012 PMS claims, Sovereign Debt Notes amounting to N42.666billion, had been issued to 31 oil marketers.
Affirming that the claims by marketers who have been recommended for further investigation by the Aig-Imoukhuede Presidential Committee had not been paid, the minister said payments or sanctions to this category of marketers would be determined by the outcome of the investigations.
Against this background, Dr Ngama alleged that it was clear that the strike was instigated mainly by marketers who were indicted by the presidential committee.
“The obvious intention is to blackmail the Federal Government in order to escape sanctios for crimes they have committed,” Dr Ngama said.
However, he said such tactics would not succeed because the government was determined to ensure that persons and organisations which did the wrong things, did not escape justice actions.
« As we have communicated severally in the last few months, payments of marketers whose claims hade been verified would continue to go on in a consistent and structured way which protects the best interest of the country,” he stated.
The affected companies:
1. Alminnur Resources Ltd
2. Brilla Energy Led
3. Caades Oil and Gas Ltd
4. Capital Oil and Gas Industry Ltd
6. Downstream Energy Source Ltd
7. Eterna Plc
8. Euraafric Oil and Gas Ltd
9. Lumen Skies Ltd
10. Majope Investment Ltd
11. Matrix Energy Ltd
12. Menon Oil and Gas Ltd
13. Mob International Services
14. MRS Oil and Gas Ltd
15. Nasaman Oil Services Ltd
16. Natacel Petroleum Ltd
17. Ocean Energy Trading and Services
18. Pinnacle Contractors Ltd
19. Sifax Oil and Gas Company
20. Tonique Oil Services Ltd
21. Top Oil and GasDevelopment Co. Ltd
written by bola mobolaji, August 19, 2012