Nigeria vows crackdown on fuel subsidy scammers
LAGOS — Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan created a body Thursday to verify the findings of a committee set up to look into all fuel subsidy payments made in 2011 with a view to punishing fraudsters.
Jonathan established the verification and reconciliation committee pledging that “no person or organisation guilty of fuel subsidy fraud or corruption will escape justice,” a statement from his office said.
The 15-member committee, which includes justice, police and state security officials, is expected to wrap up its task by July 13, the statement said.
It will verify claims in a report by a government technical committee on fuel subsidy payments and “accurately identify all likely fraudulent cases for criminal investigation”.
The statement said Jonathan would take immediate action “on all identified cases of fraud”.
The popular subsidy programme was designed to keep petrol prices low in Africa’s biggest oil producer but was found to be riddled with corruption and mismanagement.
A parliamentary committee probe earlier this year found that $6.8 billion (5.3 billion euros) were lost between 2009-2011.
Allegations that committee chairman Farouk Lawan solicited a $3 million bribe from tycoon Femi Otedola to remove his Zenon oil firm from the probe’s report have dominated Nigerian headlines in recent weeks.
Nigeria’s justice ministry last month vowed to investigate all parties named in the report, vowing “there will be no sacred cows.”AFP