by Lekan Olanrewaju
The report from the just concluded probe on petroleum product subsidy conducted by a House of Representatives committee reveals that the government overpaid several firms to the tune of N229 billion. 69 firms were found guilty of fraudulent transactions, according to the report.
The probe was conducted by the Honourable Farouk Lawan-led committee was set up following protests and a nationwide strike that occured in January in response to the Federal Government removal of petrol subsidy.
The report stated that the “Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) should account for the sum of N213.678 billion, being total of excess payments made by it over and above what Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA) identified as paid in 2009 and 2010”.
It also goes on to direct that the EFCC and the ICPC ensure that the OAGF accounts for the ‘over-recovery figures of N2.766billion and N5.27 billion respectively’.
‘The OAGF is not only responsible for the accounts of the federation including the PSF and Domestic Crude Account but refused to say so during the public hearing’.
According to the report, subsidies were overpaid to the tune of N146.764 billion in 2009, N421.197 billion in 2010 and N1,025,353 billion in 2011.
“The OAGF should explain over payment of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) subsidy receipts to the tune of N146.746 billion (2009), N421.197 billion (2010) and N1,025,353 billion (2011).”
About 140 oil firms appeared before the committee during the hearings to explain their roles in the scheme.
Government officials such as the Ministers of Petroleum Resources, Finance, as well as executives of the PPPRA and the NNPC also appeared before the committee.
Contradictions were however made, as to the actual amounts of money spent on the scheme.
The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had stated that the government had paid the sum of N1.4 trillion on fuel subsidy in 2011.
The CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, however, claimed that the subsidy on fuel had hit N1.7 trillion, while the committee of the House probing the subsidy regime asserted that the amount of money to be paid on fuel subsidy might hit N2 trillion.