How marketers stole N232bn oil subsidy – Okonjo-Iweala

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•We’ve recovered N29bn – Minister

From: AMECHI OGBONNA, JULIANA TAIWO OBALONYE and WALTER UKEGBU Abuja

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, disclosed yesterday how 50 oil marketers stole N232 billion subsidy even as she said that N29billion had been recovered by the Federal Government. She did not reveal names of the culprits.

The recovery is also part of an estimated N1trillion so far identified by the Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede’s probe committee as having been illegally paid to dubious petroleum product importers since 2009. Dr Okonjo-Iweala, who gave the update on the ongoing probe of oil marketers in Abuja, said the government has re-invested part of the money while using part of it to defray commitments on the subsidy payment.

She explained that government was still bent on prosecuting all those identified by the Aig-Imohkhuede committee no matter how highly placed to ensure that no one pockets public money and go scot-free, warning that government would not be deterred by any blackmail by the affected marketers. According  to Okonjo –Iweala, the government which has briefed the anti-graft agencies appropriately, would make more recoveries as more culprits in the subsidy scam are gradually brought to book. She, however, assured that genuine importers would continue to be paid subsidy claims after  thorough verification.

Speaking at the ongoing 18th Nigeria Economic Summit at Transcorp Hotel, Abuja, the minister regretted that one of the unpleasant outcomes of the probe was that it has slowed down the speed of disbursement of the 2012 budget since her ministry would now need to peruse every payment to ensure that only genuine obligations are honoured.

She said: “ We are going through forensic investigation because it is the kind of work that requires indepth investigation and that is because we want to do a thorough job on the matter because Nigerians want the government to take corruption out of the way so that we can be like other nations of the world where things are done properly” On fears that a lot of investments had not taken place because of corruption in the oil and gas industry, the minister stated, “I think we actually have a good theory.

We have a long way to go and a lot of work to do. I think for me, it is the issue of resource leakage in the economy and to our revenues. And there is also no doubt about the issue of oil theft because of the loss of 200,000 barrels per day. We have to deal with it so we can plough those resources back into our revenue. She assured that in line with the directive to thenewly-appointed service chiefs recently, Mr. President charged them to deal with this issue of oil theft. She recalled that under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the nation recorded leakages of 150,000 barrels per day and the government was able to successfully reduce it to about 50,000 barrels and even beyond. “So, what I am saying is that we can do it, we have done it before and we must do it.

We also need to elicit the help of the international community because people are there buying this oil illicitly. So, it is a question of not just us but also trying to tackle those who are coming to our shores, stationing big ships and siphoning our oil. Of course, we have to do our own work, it starts from us, so I am not running away from that. But ultimately, we also have to work with international market.

And you know that Mexico for the first time is experiencing the same thing. Mexico is presently losing about 25,000 barrels per day but they are very concerned that criminal elements have gotten into it and that it could escalate. They are going all out to try and fight it. So, that is the first thing. “The second has to do with the subsidy issue and the fuel payment activities. And then, I think we actually have a good story to tell.

Nigerians made it clear that corruption has to be taken out of this subsidy payment and we focused all year on doing that. The presidential task force headed by Aig-Imoukhuede that verified slightly over a N3 trillion has come out with very detailed work. Of course, there was the work done in the National Assembly, but we went into it in details to be able to really determine what transaction had or had not been fraudulent. “You need forensic experts, examiners, forensic auditors we took 15 or 20 of them from Price Waterhouse and the Central Bank.

They have been working for more than four months now on this detailed, painstaking transaction by transaction verification of independent marketers for over a N3 trillion. “Last week, the work was submitted to Mr. President and of the amount verified, they have determined the N232 billion finally. You know they came out with N270 billion initially, now they are out with N232 billion claims of oil subsidy that are not substantiated or fraudulent. So, 50 marketers some of them are clean and there are some of them that are not clean.

The report had been submitted, this had taken so much work and it has slowed down the pace on which we are making 2012 payments. It has enabled us to put in place a series of steps. We have fired auditors who were helping when we saw that they were not doing the work, we have new ones with very clear terms of reference on how they are to verify the oil being brought in to make sure it’s really brought in.

We have taken care to ensure that before we pay again and again to make sure that the payment we are making for 2012 are valid and did not support the problems of 2011. Yes, that slowed down the pace of payment, but it is because we are responding to what Nigerians want. Even if marketers who are not doing the right thing are crying about it, we will not yield, the government will not yield to those cries until we make sure we are doing the right thing.

“Now of the N232 billion that had been put forward as “fraudulent” claims, some of those marketers say government owed them money, we are right now able to hold N29 billion of that. So, instead of paying them we are recovering what they owe us. So, my singular hope is that out of this we would have recovered eventually that amount of about of N29 billion and will be looking to recover the balance of the total.

Some of those people are being chased and prosecuted and the EFCC and the ICPC are still investigating this. “So, this is one area where we have done thorough forensic work. It has yielded changes in the way we verify payments, slowed it down, though it is painful, but we have found out how many of such claims are fraudulent, we have clawed back some of the money now about N29 billion, we are prosecuting people and we have continued to pay marketers whose claims have been verified.

We have never stopped paying because all these issues about queues and so on, of course, sometimes the marketers have said unless you pay us we are not going to bring in oil, but we have not yielded to any of that kind of stress or even blackmail, we have continued to do our work and we will continue to pay those who are clean.” Okonjo-Iweala said.

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32 Comments

    • We have to be optimistic about the whole issue. The Hon Minister of Finance has a reputation and at her level you don’t expect her to soil her hands and damage her prestige she built over the years. It is only people who don’t value self respect and prestige that will think Mrs Ngozi Okonjo Iwuala will damage her career because of naira or dollars. President Jonathan too knows that God chose him to take care of Nigerians. He was chosen by God and there is nothing anyone can do to bring him down. He means well for Nigerians and all he needs is our collective support to fight corruption and terror. Those who are doing bad things are Nigerians and besides, the law enforcement agents have been briefed to be thorough in their job. This is democracy where things are done thoroughly unlike in Military regimes where things are summarily done and at the end a lot of mistakes are made with the innocent dealt with. This administration is taking their time and we have to patiently wait. PHCN is gradually coming on as well as other things that will reveal themselves later. They are just two years in office.

      • She is about the only one who will not soil her hands. But no one is giving her a very free hand until she gets the mandate to run the country on her own. Under Jonathan, her hands are partly tied.

  1. You are talking nonsense.We have heard u talk like this.U are part of mindless rouges ruining nigeria. U will not escape judgement when time comes.

    • She is just making noise over nothing. Both GEJ and NOI are not serious people. They know who and where those subsidy theives are but deliberately choose to look the other way because those thieves have been the the foundation upon which the PDP controlled government stand and the support lifeline upon which it thrives. Ahmadu Ali, former PDP chairman, single-handedly withdrew $129B as head of PPRA with nothing to show for it or any solid explanation. He has since been given a National Honour and now being considered to replace OBJ as PDP BOT chairman. Most of those fraudulent subsidy payments were made to companies with links to OBJ, ANENIH, AHMADU ALI, past and present PDP henchmen, Alison-Madueke, some ministers, some powerful governors, top military personnel, National Assembly leadership, traditional rulers and their likes. The problem of corruption in Nigeria has been simplified and the solution amplified under the PDP controlled government and that is why it’s not going to work. We are talking of a N3Trillion questionable payments and the minister is making noise over a N29B recovery.

  2. Netcontacts Nig. is puting smiles in the faces of Nigerians, including me. Grab this special opportunity & enjoy financial freedom. Join Netcontacts today & place urself on daily-pay, without limit. This is 100% REAL. Go to http://www.netcontacts.com.ng and register for free with ur Invitation Code: 20701283 Feel free to reach me on 08064531593.

  3. The true one your name be the false one do you know what it takes for black Nigerian woman to rise to be an md of a white dominated institution like the world bank,you better bridle your caustic tongue,that woman you are insulting has been under heavy security protection,due to threats by these blood sucking oil importers.Just say this prayer,that someone like ngozi okonjo iweala,should not come to you as daughter,wife,mother any where in your linage.say amen then I take you seriously .

    • Badoo, that prayer is for me and not for that faceless and nameless person, I also wish you that prayer. I desire that some body like aunty Ngozi O Iweala will emanate from my family and i will leave to see it.

  4. If the minister of finance is not a thief,why didn’t she mention any name,why didn’t FG arrest and jail so called oil marketers,why did FG recorver only N29bn out of the total money,on whose bank account is the recorvered money deposited?.If FG is asked to provide the N29bn as it claimed,I’m saying the finance minister will claim that the money is included in 2013 budget,because she is a well trained criminal in the area of finance.

  5. The true one or whatever you call urself i think you need ur head examined or better still stop commenting on issues like this because you are not knowledgeable enough to do so. That woman deserve some respect from you and pls accord her that. Becareful because in all ramifications she is not ur class

  6. omotayo oyeyipo on

    GEJ has really achieved what Napoleon could not achieve – he and his government have recovered 29 billion out of 232 billion and no one is in jail as we talk. That is in deed an indication of a ‘zero tolerance for corruption’

  7. Very Clean with Full Options Blackberry 9800 Torch1 from RIM ,Canada @ a cheap price Per unit and for bulk buyer price goes down. 0-8-0-9-8-9-9-6-9-0-3

  8. They stole this amount and a re still free? What moral justification does this country have to keep ‘petty’ thieves in jail while these ones are free? GEJ, please declare total amnesty for all those in jail (except murder) so that justice will be seen to have been done.

  9. Mr Green you did not get my point I asked true one to say amen if he would not wish someone like ngozi to come to him.

  10. We now know how they stole the oil money; and we already know the bastards who stole the oil money. We even know the amount of the oil money they stole; and we also know when the thieving idiots stole the oil money. From the forgoing, it seems the case against the oil subsidy thieves is a open-and-shut case. Question is WHY aren’t these thieves in the slammer already? Can anyone supply that missing, enigmatic component of this subsidy theft saga? Anybody? It’s been about a year since this sordid revelation was made public. Waztup ppl?

  11. Well this lady is a thief.Why you think u can deceive people who are more lenient than you.Being petroleum minster does not mean u the most educated being in nigeria,you are there by chance to steal.non of the culprit involved will escape the wrath of govt.why not mention names?you are a snake.

  12. I want to use this opportunity to tell Nigerians to always pray for this woman, this woman works very very hard for all of us.
    The government of Good luck/PDP and also EFCC cannot fight corruption in Nigeria because,some of the PDP members are committed.

    So this woman saw all this things and decided to block some of their chances.

    So please my fellow Nigerians,let us pray for this woman for the good job and the risk.

    She is the only person I trusted in this PDP led Government

  13. People should learn to keep quiet when they don’t know what to say. I wonder why some ill-informed commentators have made it their personal business to attack the personality of Dr Iweala

  14. When civil society groups & d poor masses were complaining last year 4 FGN not to increase d pump price fuel that d should first determine actual cost she & other govt officials refused. So now we have been vindicated let them apologise & return d price to N65/ltr.

  15. GEJ shld stop d promises of soft judicial-laddening to inner-pdp cacaus involved in oil subsidy scam.d ball is now in his court.fight d monsters called corruption & carry-go in 2015 otherwise let him go back to his village & manage d pairs of slippers he acquired 4rm Aso-rock villa.

  16. My Hon. minister, I congratulate your resolute effort on the fight against corruption and the success achieved so far, may God Almighty preserve and keep you until your foes bow on their knees. Carry on this good fight Mr President, we are praying for you, and the Lord will see you through in Jesus name.

  17. If 29b is recovered we expect some accused thiefs to be arrested. I hope they will make them known when they are being prosecuted? Nigerians, who love democracy are waitng!

  18. Please,Minister of Finance,OIL THIEVES must be UNMASKED- Name these people to tell the world that you are not shielding the so called CONTRIBUTORS/ Financiers of Mr.President’s election last year. When you publish their names, it’s then we will know that you really mean business of recovering the stolen money.

  19. @Aremo go and tell that to ur boko haram animal, u ppl are ploting the down fall of mr GEJ but I tell u it wo’nt work bcos ur northern rulers created all these problems for nigs Fools.

  20. Chukwunonso Nwafor on

    All our problem is in our hands, we dont appreciate what we have in this nation, the govenment that tell’s us that they want to remove fuel subsidy we didn’t agree now we want them to tell us names of people that eat the money for the same subsidy, they still tell us that they have recover some money people are here curseing someone they will not even stand face to face, let appreciate what we have for God sake, ever since 1960 there is no government like GEJ government. I pray that God will guide this government in Jesus name Amen. What about Boko Haram just because the owner of oil is in control of his oil, boko haram is now say unemployment are they the only unemployed Nigerians?

  21. in the circumstances, she has done a good job. efcc and the courts should do their part to end this scam and put the thieves away. welldone madam and don’t let them scare you.

  22. I thought this silly woman was sitting down in the midst of those thieves she’s accusing now in January? Hypocrite! Go on, name names, now!

  23. In honesty Aunty NG is a hard working & sincere person who is ready to bring a changer that will better the lot of Nigerian. The truth is that we have people who are stronger than the structure in place and that makes it difficult for good ones to give their best and I do not suggest that the good ones resign because that is exactly what these criminals are doing to make sure that their likes are all over the key positions. Let us keep praying for these good ones for wisdom and courage to stand firm despite all odds.
    My advice is for them to go a step further in disclosing the names of these suspected cabals to enable Nigerians know who are true philanthropists and not those that will steal trillions and give millions to launder their image.I think Nigerian are tired of faceless criminals. LET US KNOW THE SUSPECTS PENDING WHEN THE LAW CALLS THEM CRIMINALS.

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