PENGASSAN asks Nigerian Govt to probe audit report on subsidy fraud

Victor Ahiuma-Young

23 December 2011, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has asked the Nigerian government to investigate the activities of oil companies and other operators in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry, following emerging facts indicating unwholesome fraud.

Reacting to report of alleged fraud uncovered by KPMG, an international accounting and auditing firm, the association said all companies involved and those behind them should be punished for committing the crime.

PENGASSAN President, Mr. Babatunde Ogun, stated that for the Federal Government to gain the confidence and trust of Nigerians, it must encourage transparency by conducting further investigations that would bring those behind the fraud to book.

He said: “We need to know how much had been spent on the refineries overhaul till date by the various governments, with the value for money audit to determine the veracity of the various proposals that were used to demand the colossal amount sunk into the processes.

“Government should equally publish the KPMG Audit report on fuel subsidy, including the names of beneficiaries of such subsidies and ensure that those involved in the fraud do not go unpunished. The KPMG report should not be swept under the carpet.”

PENGASSAN said it wanted a judicial inquiry into the fuel subsidy pay outs, which stood at about N1.3 trillion or 25 per cent of Nigeria’s yearly budget.

He noted that the wastages, which the government complained about in the subsidy, were not in the policy itself, but in the process of granting the subsidy on petroleum products.

It said: “The impact of the volumes and proceeds of local fuel supplies shows easy falls against the import price parity regimes inflicted by the imported petroleum products.”

Ogun said for the nation to breakthrough into the league of top 20 most-developed economies in 2020, government must exhibit transparency in its dealings by not only publishing the KPMG report, but also punish the culprits

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