N5.1tr Fraud: Senate begins probe of NNPC over subsidy scam
The Senate has initiated probe into an alleged N5.1 trillion fuel subsidy fraud, believed to have been stolen by some Nigerians in connivance with top officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) between 2006 and 2016.
At its plenary session of Wednesday, the upper legislative body alleged that the NNPC failed to remit the monies into the Federation Account.
In a motion sponsored by Senator Dino Malaye (Kogi West), the lawmakers said some corrupt Nigerian were hiding the funds in caskets, uncompleted buildings and in remote villages in different parts of the country.
“Monies are not accounted for and that might be the reason why we now see petro-dollars buried in caskets and uncompleted buildings in remote villages in some parts of the country”, Melaye said.
Melaye drew the attention of the Senate to the continued refusal of the Federal Government to probe the NNPC, which he said got 51 percent share of imported petroleum products into the country.
Petroleum product marketers, some of who are currently facing trial over alleged subsidy fraud, are responsible for the remaining 49 percent of the importation of the products.
The senator observed that it was the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, that raised the alarm over subsidy fraud in the Seventh Senate, wondering why the government is trying only the marketers, leaving the NNPC off the hook.
“While we are prosecuting the independent marketers whose proceeds from subsidy stood at N3.83 trillion, the NNPC collected a total of N5.1 trillion on subsidy and this has never been investigated.
“This has never been looked at and we are busy chasing independent marketers. The time to look at the books of the NNPC as regards petroleum subsidy is now.
“We have taken the lead in the fight against corruption in this chamber and I want to say we must do everything within our powers to investigate and bring whoever is found wanting to book”.
In his contribution, Saraki noted that the alleged subsidy fraud was a serious matter, saying that it goes to the core of the fight against corruption, particularly as it affects the NNPC.
At the end of the debate, the Senate mandated its committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to investigate the NNPC’s accounts relating to fuel subsidy and the abuse of product marketing and distribution between 2006 and 2016.
In lending his voice, Senator Bassey Akpan (Akwa Ibom North-East, PDP), also condemned the fraudlent practice by the NNPC, urging the upper chamber to purge the oil body of all allegations of corruption.
Saraki vetoed that, “A situation where individuals do what they like and are not accountable to anybody should be stopped. The committee should do a thorough job and ensure that they get to the root of this issue. It borders on the issue of corruption which has been affecting the country negatively”.
Senate, NNPC: Senate, NNPC: Senate, NNPC
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