Senate has initiated probe into an alleged N5.1 trillion fuel subsidy fraud, believed to have been stolen by some Nigerians in connivance with top officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) between 2006 and 2016.
At plenary yesterday, the Senate alleged the NNPC failed to remit the funds into the Federation Account.
In a motion sponsored by Senator Dino Malaye (Kogi West), the lawmakers said some corrupt Nigerians were hiding the funds in caskets, uncompleted buildings and in remote villages in different parts of the country.
Melaye said,“Monies are not accounted for and that might be the reason why we now see petro-dollars buried in caskets and uncompleted buildings in remote villages in some parts of the country.”
He drew the attention of the Senate to the continued refusal of the Federal Government to probe the NNPC, which he said got 51 per cent share of imported petroleum products into the country.
Petroleum product marketers, some of who are facing trial for alleged subsidy fraud, were responsible for the remaining 49 per cent of the importation of the products.
The senator observed that it was the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who raised the alarm over subsidy fraud in the Seventh Senate, wondering why the government was trying only marketers.
“While we are prosecuting the independent marketers, whose proceeds from subsidy stood at N3.83 trillion, the NNPC collected a total of N5.1 trillion on subsidy and this has never been investigated…
“We have taken the lead in the fight against corruption in this chamber and I want to say we must do everything within our powers to investigate and bring whoever is found wanting to book,” Melaye said.
Saraki noted that the alleged subsidy fraud was a serious matter, saying that it goes to the core of the fight against corruption, particularly as it affects the NNPC.
At the end of the debate, the Senate mandated its Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to investigate the NNPC’s accounts relating to fuel subsidy and the abuse of product marketing and distribution between 2006 and 2016.
Saraki said: “A situation where individuals do what they like and are not accountable to anybody should be stopped. The committee should do a thorough job and ensure that they get to the root of this issue. It borders on the issue of corruption, which has been affecting the country negatively.”