A statement from the ministry of Finance named twenty one companies that are being investigated on suspicion of engaging in fraudulent fuel subsidy activities. The companies are being investigated based on the findings of report by the Presidential Committee on Fuel Subsidy Payments headed by Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.
The committee's report recommended that indicted companies should have to refund funds to the treasury. The statement also mentioned a second tier of companies that had "relatively minor" infractions.
The statement from the Ministry of Finance stated that the following companies are under investigation; Alminnur Resources Ltd, Brilla Energy Ltd, Caades Oil and Gas Ltd, Capital Oil and Gas Industry Ltd, Connoil Plc, Downstream Energy Source Ltd., Eterna Plc, Euraafric Oil and Gas Ltd, Lumen Skies Ltd, Majope Investment Ltd, Matrix Energy Ltd, Menon Oil and Gas Ltd, Mob International Services, M.R.S. Oil and Gas Ltd., Nasaman Oil Services Ltd, Natacel Petroleum Ltd, Ocean Energy Trading and Services, Pinnacle Contractors Ltd, Sifax Oil and Gas Company, Tonique Oil Services Ltd and Top Oil and Gas Development Co. Ltd.
The statement also said, â€śThere is a second group of companies with infractions which are relatively minor. They are in discussion with the government for a quick resolution of their issues. The government is prepared to settle their claims under the following circumstances.
â€śFor oil marketers under investigation for possible refunds to the government, their 2012 outstanding claims will be netted out against their expected refunds to the government and those with a positive net balance, i.e. outstanding claims greater than expected refunds, will be processed and paid.
â€śFor marketers with a negative balance with the government, that is, they owe the government more in refunds than the government owes them, the Aig-Imoukhuede committee will accelerate the review of their documents after the Sallah break so that their claims can be processed and settled, if cleared, without further delay.
The ministry also used the statement to deny responsibility for the current fuel shortage in Abuja caused by the oil marketers who are striking over delayed payment of subsidy claims, saying â€śIt is clear that those behind the strikes are marketers being investigated for possible fraud. These elements have now resorted to hiding behind the unions to unnecessarily antagonise the government and create hardship for Nigerians.
â€śWe want to make it clear that the government will fully investigate their activities and if found guilty, bring them to book and recover all public funds fraudulently obtained in the guise of fuel subsidy claims. No degree of blackmail will stop the government from doing its work. The government will, therefore, pursue justice and ensure that those who are found guilty are appropriately sanctioned.â€ť