Following the shocking revelation in the report of the House of Representatives Committee that fuel subsidy payment, for which about N245billion was appropriated in the 2011 budget, had suddenly spiraled to over N2.6 trillion (over 2,200 per cent increase) as at December last year, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, constituted a technical committee on review of Fuel Subsidy Payments, and appointed Aigboje Aig-Imuokhuede as its head.
The Youth Alliance Against Fuel Subsidy Removal, an Abuja based non-governmental organisation (NGO), after detailed background checks, uncovered the fact that Aig-Imoukhuede owns Ice Energy Petroleum Trading Limited, a company which was accused by the now discredited Farouk Lawan subsidy probe panel of allegedly receiving $2, 131,166.32 (about N345.3 million) without delivering petroleum products.
With his reappointment, last Thursday, to head another 15-man committee, it is either the federal government is not aware of Imoukhuede’s association with the petroleum trading company, or it chose to overlook the conflict of interest which it might pose to the outcome of his committee’s report.
In inaugurating the committee, the president had urged them “to properly identify all cases of over-payments and/or irregular payments; to accurately identify all likely fraudulent cases for criminal investigations, and to review any other pertinent issues that may arise from its work and make appropriate recommendations.”
When asked by Premium Times about Imoukhuede’s alleged involvement in the subsidy regime, the presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, sought to know the veracity of this claim.
He continued saying, “If that is the case, the question to ask is: Is his company guilty of any wrongdoing?”
Mr. Abati, who promised to get more information, and revert back, never did by the time of publishing this report.
If these allegations are true, the technical committee head, Aig-Imoukhuede, is clearly being a judge in his own case.