Subsidy fraud: Four more oil marketers to be investigated

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Wednesday released an updated list of oil markets recommended for criminal investigation for fraudulently collecting fund set aside for the fuel subsidy scheme.

In a press statement issued by Paul Nwabuikwu, the Senior Special Assistant to Minister of Finance, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said “the updated number is 25, four more than the list of 21 released earlier.”

She said that the number has been confirmed by the Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy Payments.

According to the statement, some of the companies claimed payments for consignments brought in by ships which investigations revealed were either non-existent or were somewhere else in the world.

Please find below extract of the report detailing the cases against the Twenty-Five (25) OM&Ts.

 

S/NOM/TINFRACTION DESCRIPTIONS AMOUNT
1ALMINNUR RESOURCES LIMITED Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no Longer operational at the time of transshipment and no shipping documents         504,329,535.27 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no Longer operational at the time of transshipment and no shipping documents         546,700,899.36 
       1,051,030,434.63
2BRILLA ENERGY LIMITED Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment         963,796,199.85 
3CAADES OIL AND GAS LTD No evidence of Sales proceeds in banks         487,799,826.80 
4CAPITAL OIL & GAS INDUSTRY LTD Subsidy payments without proof of existence of the mother vessel bill of lading or daughter vessel bill of lading         984,440,711.38 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment      1,480,444,043.58 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment      1,832,280,164.36 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment      2,110,438,332.44 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment      2,490,576,987.15 
8,898,180,238.91
5CAPITAL OIL PLC Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in the locations claimed at the time of transhipment         608,077,964.00 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in the locations claimed at the time of transhipment         608,220,553.20 
1,216,298,517.20
6CEOTI LIMITED Specially mentioned transactions with various infractions. Transactions were discovered to be bills for collection transactions, but as at the time of the review it was discovered that the shipping documents evidencing arrival of the products had not been submitted to the respective banks for payment:. 11/07/12 : OM/T to provide letter from their bankers confirming that they financed the transaction.      1,773,421,842.01 
7CONOIL PLC Subsidy payments without proof of existence of the mother vessel bill of lading or daughter vessel bill of lading      1,065,934,768.66 
Subsidy payments without proof of existence of the mother vessel bill of lading or daughter vessel bill of lading      1,882,143,309.24 
2,948,078,077.90
8DOWNSTREAM ENERGY SOURCE LTD Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced         789,648,329.25 
Subsidy payments without the signature of external auditors and independent inspectors on shore tank certificates         984,440,711.38 
1,774,089,040.63
9ETERNA PLC Subsidy payments for which there were no shipping documents or evidence of payment for the products in foreign exchange. (Form ‘m’ 945404)         578,295,672.84 
No evidence of sales proceeds in the bank.         626,465,370.06 
Subsidy payments without proof of existence of mother vessel bill of Lading or Daughter bill of Lading. (Form ‘m’ 926342)         917,895,596.40 
2,122,859,123.70
10EURAFRIC OIL & GAS LTD Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment         955,688,127.82 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no longer operational at the time of transhipment 

 

     1,306,170,995.88 
2,261,859,123.70
11HEYDEN PETROLEUM Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment         594,714,089.31 
12LUMEN SKIES LTD Transactions disclaimed by banks         267,521,051.32 
Transactions disclaimed by banks         507,266,701.54 
     774,787,752.86
13MAJOPE INVESTMENT LTD Subsidy payments without the signature of external auditors and independent inspectors on shore tank certificates         959,813,734.22 
14MASTER ENERGY OIL & GAS LTD Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced      1,454,308,353.50 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced      1,454,687,937.79 
   2,908,996,291.29
15MATRIX ENERGY LIMITED Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced         560,744,384.56 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced      1,274,372,887.98 
Specially mentioned transactions with various infractions. Transactions were Bills for collection and as at the time of review no shipping document evidencing payment was available.  MAT/2031/MAS/PMS/28/09/11      1,301,904,784.71 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment. MAT/1679/MAS/PMS/27/04/11      1,501,684,359.70 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced. MAT/2031/MAS/PMS/28/09/11      1,595,095,720.20 
6,233,802,137.15
16MENOL OIL & GAS LIMITED Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment      1,691,595,830.87 
17MOB INTERNATIONAL SERVICES No evidence of Sales proceeds in banks      1,019,068,114.10 
No evidence of Sales proceeds in banks      1,118,260,800.00 
2,137,328,914.10
18MRS OIL & GAS PLC Subsidy payments for which there were no shipping documents or evidence of payment for the products in foreign exchange      6,086,531,305.33 
19NASAMAN OIL SERVICES LTD Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no longer operational at the time of transhipment         598,723,358.04 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment         749,991,273.36 
Subsidy payments without the signature of external auditors and independent inspectors on shore tank certificates         881,350,767.57 
No evidence of Sales proceeds in banks      1,631,342,040.93 
3,861,407,437.90
20NATICEL PETROLEUM LIMITED Specially mentioned transactions with various infractions. No shipping document in bank and no evidence of payment for product      1,514,333,360.64 
No evidence of Sales proceeds in banks      1,567,037,317.70 
3,081,370,678.34
21OCEAN ENERGY TRADING & SERVICES LTD Subsidy payments for which mother vessels could not be traced 1,778,180,051.20 
22PINNACLE CONTRACTORS LTD Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were not found in locations claimed at the time of transhipment      1,227,601,783.20 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no longer operational at the time of transhipment      1,528,044,960.84 
2,755,646,744.04
23SIFAX OIL AND GAS COMPANY Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no longer operational at the time of transhipment 1,033,119,489.60 
24TONIQUE OIL SERVICES LTD No evidence of Sales proceeds in banks      1,575,014,046.51 
25TOP OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LIMITED. Subsidy payments for which mother vessels were no Longer operational at the time of transshipment and no shipping documents 1,092,496,724.55 
Subsidy payments for which mother vessel could not be traced and no shipping documents were sighted 1,268,236,760.88 
2,360,733,485.43

 

Address systemic problems rather than impeaching the President – Tam George

Doctor Tam George a former lecturer of the University of Cape town, South Africa and the Executive Director of the Institute of Communication and Corporate Studies said on the budget implementation issue going on between the House of Representatives and the Presidency.

He said the House of Representatives, National Assembly has a constitutional oversight responsibility over the executive arm of government and it is the non-budget implementation that has led to the impeachment threat which the House of representatives has issued which the former lecturer said the House of representatives actually has the constitutional right to issue an impeachment threat.

He went ahead to ask that “As a matter of fact, how does impeaching the President implement the budget?

Watch for more details.

We will not toy with public resources – Okonjo-Iweala

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Monday assured Nigerians that the 2012 budget is being managed in a way that protects and enhances the best interests of the country.

Responding to concerns raised in some quarters recently, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said that transparency and prudence remain the key priorities of the Federal Government in the management of the 2012 budget.

“Our objective is to achieve both higher budget implementation and better management of the country’s resources”, she said.

“We will not toy with public resources because they belong to all Nigerians”.

Regarding the implementation of the capital budget, some of the key milestones of the 2012 budget according to the minister include:

• Total capital budget for 2012: N1.3 trillion
• Releases so far: N404 billion
• Cash backed portion of the capital budget: N324 billion
• Percentage of cash backed portion that has been utilised: 56%

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said that the improvement in implementation ratio from 39.2% by the end of May to 56% utilisation of cash backed resources by June 20 was made possible by the direct leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan who is personally leading the drive for better budget performance.

She expressed confidence that there will be further improvement in the level of implementation before the end of the year.

The minister emphasised that to maximise results, the ministry is careful and methodical in releasing funds to MDAs. She stressed that given the rate of utilisation, there is still room for more implementation.

She said that the Federal Ministry of Finance is not holding any budgeted funds back and that more releases of funds will be made in the near future.

Reps threaten to Impeach Jonathan over budget execution

The House of Representatives, on Thursday, threatened to commence impeachment move on President Goodluck Jonathan over what it described as poor implementation of the 2012 budget.

The lawmakers also cautioned the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on the non-release of funds to ministries, departments and agencies of government to implement projects.

They further urged President Jonathan to direct the Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to stop forthwith her violation of the 2012 budget as passed by the National Assembly and release, accordingly, first and second quarters’ appropriation to the MDAs and implement the budget to the letter.

The House’s took made these resolution following a motion moved by Albert Sam-Tsokwa and 20 others entitled: “Poor implementation of the 2012 budget,” noting that, “while the recurrent expenditure has kept pace with expectations, capital budget implementation seriously lags behind and leaves much to be desired.”

According to Mr Sam-Tsokwa, “whereas the majority of MDAs have reached advanced stages in the implementation of the procurement process, they are unable to release contract award letters as a result of the release of insufficient funds or non-release of funds, which has further exacerbated the crushing burden of accumulated debts.”

He said that “the 2012 national budget was passed with aggregate expenditure figure of N4.887 trillion, including the N180 billion for the Subsidy Re-Investment Programme (SURE-P).”

Various chairmen of the House committees that contributed to the debate, which generated heated arguments and emotions, berated the executive for the poor implementation of the 2012 budget and equally frowned on the false alarm being raised by the Minister of Finance that the country was broke.

The lawmakers then submitted that from the data they obtained from various government revenue generating agencies, except the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the country’s economy was not doing badly, as most of the agencies were said to have already surpassed their targets.

The Minority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamiala, said that “President Goodluck Jonathan promised Nigerians a budget of transformation, but what we have is a budget of abracadabra and a voodoo economy.”

Backing his impeachment call with Section 143, Mr Gbajabiamila said, “if by the time we resume in September 18, 2012, budget has not been implemented by 100 per cent, we shall begin the impeachment process on Mr President.”

However, the House Leader, Mulikat Adeola-Akande, cautioned the lawmakers on the impeachment threat, stressing that she believed that before the lawmakers resumed from their recess on September 18, 2012, things would have changed for the better.

Jonathan reacts

The Presidency have reacted to the impeachment threat by House of Representatives on President Goodluck Jonathan over budget implementation saying the President is equally worried by the concerns raised by the House.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati said that President Jonathan was on the same page with the House of Representatives on the need for efficient budget implementation.

He said there was no conflict between the two arms of government, noting that the President was also concerned about budget implementation.

Vanguard newspaper reported Mr Abati as saying “the House and the President are on the same page on budget implementation. Just as the House is concerned, Mr. President is concerned too. What happened today (yesterday) in the House was ironic and a big coincidence because two ministries: interior and police affairs, were in the Villa to make presentations on their key performance index.

“Each ministry came with all the parastatals under it and presented their KPI in relation to Budget 2012. They were required to state their mandates, the money they collected under Budget 2012, their level of performance and their challenges if any and then define their next steps. After each presentation, there was robust discussion.”

Okonjo-Iweala says FG’s spending on salaries has quadrupled

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iiweala on Tuesday called for caution with the rising wage bill of the public sector, noting that it could erode gains recorded for economic stability.

Addressing a forum of the organised private sector and Civil Society Organisations in Abuja on Tuesday, to deliberate on issues that will guide the preparation of the 2013 Budget, Dr Iweala said that the federal government is presently spending huge funds in the payment of personnel.

According to the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Dr Bright Okogu, the wage bill of the public sector, quadrupled from N443 billion to N1.659trillion between 2009-2012.

A situation which he says is not healthy for any nation craving for transformation.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala called for the reduction of Ministries, Departments and Agencies as stated in the Stephen Orasanye report, to check leakages needed to grow other sectors of the economy.

Further speaking, Dr Okogu also revealed that the share of personnel cost as percentage of aggregate expenditure increased from 27 per cent of the total federal government spending to 34 per cent in 2012.

While these government officials are canvassing a cut on spending to meet up with the challenges affecting the country, members of the private sector, led by the president, National Association of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs, Garba Gusau, advised that funds saved from such leakages be channelled into activities that would grow the businesses of entrepreneurs thereby creating jobs for the unemployed.

A similar recommendation was earlier made in the year by the Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies in an 800 paged report which recommended the reduction of the nation’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) which are 541 in number, to 163.

The federal government was advised to scrap the nation’s anti-graft graft agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practice Commission (ICPC) and 375 other agencies citing inefficiency and replication of duties at a huge cost on the nation’s purse.

Drama at National Economic management meeting as Oteh takes DG SEC’s seat

A mild drama ensued on Tuesday at the Presidential villa as the recently suspended Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh attempted to attend the Economic Management Meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Ms Oteh was a member of the economic management team by virtue of her former position as the DG SEC.

However, with her suspension, it is expected that she would cease to be a member and give way to the acting DG, Ibrahim Bello, to take over her membership.

Ms Oteh made a dramatic appearance at the venue of the meeting at about 1.30pm on Tuesday.

She was still settling down on the seat reserved for DG SEC when a female protocol official approached her and engaged her in a discussion.

Immediately after the short discussion, Ms Oteh, holding tenaciously to her two handbags, and the protocol official left the council chambers. They both headed towards the president’s office.

Five minutes later, the female official returned without the former SEC DG. But no sooner had the official returned than Ms Oteh re-appeared at the venue.

She placed her handbags beside her seat and walked to the other side of the hall to hold consultation with the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

After the consultation, Ms Oteh left the venue with her two bags and again headed towards the president’s office.

She again returned to the venue a few minutes after and took her seat.

Shortly after her final return, President Goodluck Jonathan arrived the venue and the meeting commenced.

A look at the market in the Easter season

Its the Easter season as the markets are not closed,Esther Ugbodaga had reports from different markets,the prices of different commodities and the patronage as well.

Reps endorse Okonjo-Iweala for World Bank President

The House of Representatives on Thursday expressed its support for the ambition of the minister of Finance and coordinating minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of the president of the World Bank.

Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala speaks during a news conference in the capital Abuja

The lawmakers declared their support while adopting the resolution of a motion moved as a matter of urgent national importance by Austin Ugbaburo on the need for the House to give her its backing.

Mr Ugbeburo said that this is the first time that a Nigerian will be vying for the position and it is pertinent for the legislature to endorse her candidature “so that the whole world will know that she has our support because she is eminently qualified to hold that position.”

Meanwhile, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday in Abidjan said she would fight to win the position of the World Bank President, after getting fresh endorsements from the Africa Union (AU) and ECOWAS.

The AU on Monday in Addis Ababa, endorsed Mrs Okonjo-Iweala as its candidate for the top job, while ECOWAS Heads of States on Tuesday in Abidjan, also declared their support for the former Managing Director of the World Bank.

These endorsements brighten the chances of Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, who had spent over 20 years working as a staff of the Bank and rose to the position of a Vice President.

Jim Yong Kim to begin world tour to seek support for his World Bank candidacy

Jim Yong Kim, the U.S. pick to take over as head of the World Bank, launches a world tour on Tuesday to seek support for his candidacy.

Kim, a Korean-American, will be contesting two nominees from emerging market countries – Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo – for the World Bank’s top job.

The Treasury Department said Kim will visit Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as well as Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, New Delhi, Brasilia and Mexico City between March 27 and April 9 to meet heads of state, finance ministers and others to talk about priorities for the World Bank.

Kim, president of Ivy League university Dartmouth College, was born in South Korea, but moved to the United States as a boy.

Treasury calls the trip a “listening tour” by Kim, the physician and anthropologist named by the Obama administration last Friday as the U.S. pick to succeed Robert Zoellick when he steps down in June.

By tradition, an American has headed the World Bank since its founding after World War Two, but emerging economies are increasingly open about challenging that convention.

Okonjo-Iweala was nominated by African powerhouses Nigeria, South Africa and Angola and could garner more support for her candidacy from the emerging markets bloc. On Monday, African Union finance leaders unanimously endorsed her candidacy.

The United States is a major contributor to the World Bank and can likely count on backing from several European countries for its nominee Kim, which could make it an uphill battle for Okonjo-Iweala.

In an interview with Reuters, however, Okonjo-Iweala expressed hope the World Bank’s 187 member nations would hold to their pledge for an open, merit-based process.

A decision on a new leader for the poverty-fighting organization is expected to be announced by the time the World Bank and its sister organization, the International Monetary Fund, hold semiannual meetings in Washington on April 20-22.

 

Okonjo Iweala mum on date of Fuel Subsidy withdrawal

okonjo Iweala

The Minister of Finance and coordinating Minister for the economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala refused to be categorical on the exact date of when government will withdraw oil subsidy on petroleum products in the country.

Addressing a news conference on break down of the 2012 budget the Minister said consultation with relevant groups is still ongoing for the implementation of the proposed removal of fuel subsidy.

President Goodluck Jonathan was silent on the issue of removal of subsidy on petroleum products in his presentation of 2012 budget to federal lawmakers, but it was evident in the proposed budget that there was no provision for subsidy for next year