Subsidy Probe: Panic As FG Finally Moves Against Oil Thieves
Tue, 10/07/2012 ? 2:29am | GEORGE AGBA Cover Stories News

Apprehension yesterday gripped major players in the oil industry as the? federal government stated that it would prosecute within one week from now those found culpable in the Farouk Lawan-led House of Representatives committee report on fuel subsidy probe.

Attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), disclosed this while speaking to State House correspondents in Abuja immediately after the meeting of heads of the three arms of government.

He added that the federal government was ready to prosecute alleged looters of the country?s funds meant for fuel subsidy in the country.

The development came just as some stakeholders have expressed divergent views on the matter. Chief executive officer of Financial Derivatives Company Mr. Bismarck Rewane, said the decision by the federal government would have sent jitters to the oil industry, particularly the downstream sector.

He said the industry would be wondering who will be hit or not, saying, however, that, ?it is a different ball game whether or not the government will be faithful to its words. We have to wait and see. The government must be given the benefit of doubt?.

Spokesman of Oando Plc, Mr. Odion Alenba, said government should go ahead and prosecute whoever is indicted in the shaddy oil deals.

But the spokesman of NIPCO, Mr. Toafik Lawal, said there is the need for the federal government to put into consideration the technicalities in the oil industry before saying that firms or individuals are guilty.

The AGF further said: ?The issue of the report was not discussed as an issue, but assurances were given that as soon as the EFCC finishes its assignment, which is very soon, you will begin to see prosecution probably in the next one week.?

This is coming just as President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday held a crucial meeting with heads of the other two arms of government, including Senate president David Mark; Speaker of the House, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal; and the chief justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, to mull the way forward on the war against corruption.

The AGF said: ?We will begin to prosecute, because the EFCC has gone very far. So, Nigerians should be rest assured that this is not an issue that will be swept under the carpet. We have gone this far because we want a proper and painstaking investigation done so that when we charge people to court there will be no lapses or loopholes for lawyers to explore.?

Adoke also admitted that the meeting was to review strategy on fighting corruption. ?Yes, we are coming out with a national strategy on the fight against corruption, and that strategy will involve the three arms of government,? he stated.

Also speaking, Senate leader Victor Ndoma Egba, who described the meeting as one aimed towards tackling corruption in the country head-on-also noted that President Jonathan was very worried over the incidence of corruption in the country.

Ndoma Egba said: ?The president?s initiative is unprecedented ? getting the three arms of government to sit in one meeting and the subject matter of discussion was the issue of corruption and how the three arms could work together to stem the worrying incident of corruption in our polity. We discussed at length, got insight from each arm of government, and we will meet again to review the issues that arose from today?s meeting and on the way forward.

?Well, the president is obviously worried about the incidence of corruption, and, from the discussions we had, all the arms of government are indeed worried about the incidence of corruption in our society. And we looked at the challenges we are facing in the fight against corruption; some of the issues are constitutional.

?The National Assembly will take another look at these issues. The judiciary also gave its own insight into the constraints. All of these will be addressed. The issue of funding of the agencies especially the EFCC and the ICPC was also discussed, all of these issues will be addressed.?

Also present at the meeting from the executive?s side were the vice president, secretary to government of the federation, the head of service, Central Bank governor, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

From the legislative arm of government were the House of Representatives leader, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes and his counterpart from the House of Representatives.

The acting president of the Court of Appeal, the chief judges of the FCT, Lagos, Kaduna and Anambra, states were also present at the meeting.

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