Court bars FG from implementing fuel subsidy report

A Federal High Court, in Abuja has barred the federal government from implementing the fuel subsidy report by not prosecuting any official of the Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd.

Presiding Judge, Justice Gladys Olotu, in her ruling on Wednesday, ordered that the “status quo” be maintained, pending the determination of the originating summons filed by the company.

“The government and its agents are hereby prevented from arresting, detaining, prosecuting and recovering the N13.2 billion alleged to have been received by the plaintiff as fuel subsidy claims, pending the determination of the case,” she said.

Justice Oluto, also granted accelerated hearing in the suit, saying “this summons is hereby accorded an accelerated hearing in order to expeditiously dispose of it.”

The company prayed the court on June 25th with a motion on notice brought pursuant to Order 26 Rule 2 and Order 28 Rule 1 of the Court Civil Procedure Rules 2009.

Integrated Oil prayed the court to declare that the Federal Government, as represented by the defendants joined in the suit was not entitled by law to act or take any step on account of the resolution of the first defendant.

The company also requested an injunction restraining the defendants whether by themselves, their servants, agents or representatives from any act or taking steps against the plaintiff and its officers on account of implementing the April 25th subsidy report.

The oil marketing company is amongst the 210 companies included in the fuel subsidy report produced by the House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee on the management of the nation’s Fuel Subsidy.   Integrated Oil is alleged to have claims of N13.2 billion collected from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Joined in the case are the House of Representatives, the embattled former chairman of the ad-hoc Committee on the Management of Fuel Subsidy, Farouk Lawan and the Attorney General of the Federation. Also joined are the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Inspector General of Police.

The company, which is owned by a former Internal Affairs Minister, Emmanuel Ihenacho, sued the respondents, following the indictment of the company as one of the major oil marketers that collected foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and failed to import or supply the fuel.

The plaintiff sought a declaration that the resolution of the first defendant-House of Reps-passed on April 25th, which approved the report of the Ad-hoc Committee was illegal.

Speaking to journalists after the proceeding, Tayo Eyitibo (SAN), counsel to the plaintiff, said any action taken against his client would be illegal, particularly when it had challenged the constitutionality and credibility of the probe report.

Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), counsel to the defendants, noted that the order granted for accelerated hearing of the suit was important to the case.

He added that government would complete investigations into the matter in order to pave the way for the prosecution of indicted companies.

“The report of the committee is still being considered as fact finding, requiring relevant security agencies to first study it before any legal action can be taken,” he said.

The case was adjourned to October 18 for further hearing.

AUDIO: Telephone conversation between Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola – Part 2

Channels Television has obtained the Part 2 of the audio recording purported to be the conversation between Honorable Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola over the $3million bribery allegation scandal.

Here is the audio recording:

Transcript of the audio recording

Lawan: it wasn’t like my brother talking. That’s one. Secondly, please this thing that we are doing, keep it to yourself otherwise you will make it difficult for us …

Otedola: Ok, ok. I am na

Lawan: Because somebody called me now and said that we said we are going to address it.

Otedola: address what?

Lawan: Yea. Because if it is already out that we are going to do something, when we do it, people will think that we are doing it because we have been compromised. And you know that is something that errrrr… And if my colleagues get to hear about it, I wouldn’t be able to convince them. So keep it to yourself.

Otedola: ok

Lawan: Let it not be like anybody is aware of what is happening. If anybody ask you, simply explain that this thing, you know from your records. You have all records and you have made a case to the committee. You have sent your documents to the committee

Otedola: Yea, Yea

Lawan: Yea. It’s left for the committee… it’s left for the committee to decide what to do. Please keep it that way.

Otedola:  Yea. God bless you. God bless you

Lawan: Yea. Because the moment it gets out now we are going to correct it. Then it means we have already Haaa… so let it be …

Otedola: Ok, Ok

Lawan: I want to spring a surprise on the floor and only that is the only credible way I can do this. So please, please.

Otedola: God bless you. God bless you my brother. I have been crying. Anytime I hear your voice

Lawan: Yes. You know your sector is small. Everybody knows… and people are already saying … Somebody just called now and said Femi has gotten his way around you guys and he has already succeeded.

Otedola: That is not true. But let me also tell you one thing ….

Lawan: No, no, no, no. I am saying it because this is what I heard

Otedola: But my brother, let me also tell you one thing. You know me as a person

Lawan: It doesn’t have… I know… I don’t want

Otedola: People just get up

Lawan: I know. That makes it difficult. Just, just whoever… you know… no. I didn’t do this. I’m sure it must have been a mistake from the committee but I have sent a letter to set the record right

Otedola: ok

Lawan: That’s all

Otedola: Ok my brother

Lawan: Yea. Yea

Otedola: Ok. Great, Ok

Lawan: Yea

Otedola: thank you

 

 

$3 million bribery: Otedola refuses to speak to Reps, insists hearing on allegations must be public

The Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, Femi Otedola, on Tuesday honoured the invitation of the House of Representatives Ethics and Privileges Committee probing his alleged $620,000 bribe to the suspended Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Farouk Lawan which probed the management of the fuel subsidy fund.

The committee then went into a closed door session. However, Mr Otedola requested the hearing should be conducted in public.

“I strongly believe that the interest of the public will not be best served if this investigation is held in-camera,” he said.

The committee had invited the billionaire businessman to explain allegations that he gave $620,000 bribe to Mr Lawan, and the erstwhile secretary, Boniface Emenalo, to get his companies off the list of firms indicted for the alleged mismanagement of oil subsidy funds.

Read Mr Otedola speech here.

Sack Petroleum Minister now, Protesters at NNPC headquarters tells Jonathan

Members of the Civil Society Organisations on Thursday gathered at the Headquarters of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Abuja to protest what they have tagged ‘End Impunity Now’.

The Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke

The spokesperson of End Impunity Now campaign and convener of the protest, Jaiye Gaskia said the group wants the federal government to take necessary steps to end the corruption in the downstream sector.

The protesters claimed that they will continue their protests in different parts of the country and will submit a petition to the EFCC. They also called on Nigerians to be more politically active.

Mr Gaskia said the protest was to demand the removal of the Petroleum Minister by the president or her resignation as alternative, over her perceived involvement in the fuel subsidy fraud. They are also demanding the full implementation of the subsidy probe report.
Furthermore, the protesters are asking the government to address the security situation in the country and the incessant hike in electricity tariff.

The protesters were however faced with resistance from over 30 armed policemen who refused to allow them access to the premises and who asked them to get a permit from the Abuja Police Command before they can hold the protest.

The protesters however argued that there is an existing law which allows Nigerians organise protests without police permit.
As at the time of publishing this report, the protesters have been dispersed.

NNPC REACTION

However, the acting spokesperson of NNPC, Fidel Pepple in a telephone interview said “the NNPC has reinforced its commitment to ensuring the values of transparency and accountability and has nothing to hide. The corporation will be available at all times for public scrutiny of its records.”

Mr Pepple observed that the protesters have exercised their fundamental human rights to peaceful demonstration.