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Oil Subsidy Probe: No Sacred Cows, Says FG

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The Federal Government has indicated that there would be no sacred cows in bringing to justice those indicted by the House of Representatives adhoc committee that probed the management of the proceeds of fuel subsidy.

This came to the fore following the  directive it issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday to investigate and prosecute persons indicted by the House of Representatives committee report.

Already, President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday directed the EFCC  to investigate thoroughly, all issues raised by the House of Representatives on the fuel subsidy fund management.

In a statement in Abuja, yesterday, Justice Minister, Mohammed Adoke, confirmed that the presidential directive had been given to prosecute those found culpable by the fuel subsidy probe.

The minister explained that the presidency considered as very important findings of the Reps probe, and assured that everything would be done within the ambit of the law to not only ensure extensive investigation but also prosecution of those indicted.

According to him, the EFCC had already commenced the groundwork for extensive investigation into the issues raised in the report with a view to generating justiceable facts necessary for prosecution.

Against initial speculations that the implementation of the Reps report may be handled by the three anti-graft agencies, The Tide can now confirm that the EFCC has been solely mandated to further investigate the content of the report.

Before the president approved the Reps report, the Chairman of EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) Barrister Ekpo Nta and the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Dr Sam Saba, had last Tuesday met to fashion out how to handle the investigation into the fuel subsidy scandal.

Reacting to the presidential directive, a Port Harcourt- based legal practitioner, Barrister Glad Imabibo, said the President’s action was proper given the hullabalo that trailed the probe.

More importantly, the resolve to pursue the outcome of the Reps report to its logical end, Imabibo hoped, would douse the tension created by the speculations of likely cover up of issues raised in the report, and spare some sacred cows.

In his contribution, Elder Blessing Agama said the  reported assurances given by the presidency that they shall be no sacred cows in the implementation of the subsidy probe report was gradually coming to fruition.

Prior to the approval of the report by the President, the chairmen of three anti-graft agencies had last Tuesday fashioned out how to handle investigation into the oil subsidy scandal.

Those who attended the secret meeting were the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Barrister Ekpo Nta and the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Dr. Sam Saba.

The presidency source added, “with the latest development from the presidency, it is apparent that only the EFCC will handle the investigation because the President was specific.

“And the task will be easy for the anti-graft agency because it had interacted with some oil marketers on the subsidy issue, in the past.”

The House ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy recommended that some oil marketers and top officials of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) be investigated and prosecuted by anti-graft agencies.

According to the report, those to be probed by anti-graft agencies(now only EFCC) are 121 oil marketers as follows:

17 marketers that did not obtain FOREX but claimed to have imported petroleum products.

15 marketers who obtained FOREX but did not import petroleum products.

71 oil marketers to face probe and refund N230.1billion

18 oil marketers who committed other infractions.

Other issues for probe by the EFCC are :

How 3.171billion litres of PMS got missing. The 3.171 litres of PMS allegedly subsidised were not supplied to the Nigerian market.

Ex-PPPRA Executive Secretaries, Mr. A. Ibikunle (August 2009 to February 2011) and Mr. Goddy Egbuji(February to August 2011) for further probe and trial.

Others are PPPRA’s GM, Field Services, ACDO/Supervisor-Ullage Team 1 and ACDO/Supervisor-Ullage Team 2

Ex-PPPRA Chairman Ahmadu Ali and board members reprimanded

NNPC should be probed to determine solvency

Those indicted in NNPC management and board between 2009 and 2011 should be prosecuted.

On the bazaar in the PPPRA, the report said, “the Committee identified that the marketers were often awarded superfluous quantities of products to supply but often did not meet the target.

“In 2009, PPPRA approved a supply of 11,341,507,500 litres of PMS for the marketers. However, PPPRA confirmed the marketers discharged only 5,085, 206, 983 litres or 55.16 per cent under-discharge.

“Despite being aware of the under-performance by the marketers in 2009 or the defect in its procurement process and management, PPPRA increased the 2010 Approved Deliverables to 12,410,955, 000 litres. The marketers delivered only 6,226,586,543 that is 49.8 per cent under performance. In spite of the under performance, there were no crises of product availability throughout 2011.

“This same ugly trend was maintained by PPPRA in 2011 during which it increased its approved quantity to 13,589,510,000 litres but however confirmed a delivery of 9,317,145,231 litres, an under performance by 31.4 per cent.

“(i) By PPPRA’s representation, the marketers received N680.982billion as subsidy for supplying 9,317,145,275 litres of PMS in 2011. (ii)Curiously, PPPRA made another presentation that the marketers were paid N975.896billion for supplying 12,488,789,611 litres of PMS in 2011.

“Between (i) and (ii) above, PPPRA has confirmed that the sum of N294, 914billion was paid on 3,171,644,336 litres of PMS that might not have been supplied to the Nigerian market.

“The anomaly is hereby referred to the relevant anti-corruption agencies for further investigation.”

Rivers State Commissioner for Water Resources, Ms Patricia Simon-Hart (left) with Chairman, House of Assembly Committee on Environment, Hon Victoria Nyeche, at the public hearing organised by the joint Committee on Water Resources and Environment in Port Harcourt, on Monday. Photo: Chris Monyanaga

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90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”

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We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.

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Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW

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Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.

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