Subsidy fraud: Labour alleges govt cover up

Victor Ahiuma-Young

06 August 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – NIGERIA’s organised Labour weekend alleged plans by the government to cover up some of the oil marketers indicted by the subsidy probe reports, vowing to resist attempt at any such plans.

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, at a press briefing in Lagos, faulted the withdrawal of charges against some of the suspects by the government, arguing that only the court had the exclusive powers to make such decisions.

President-General of TUC, Comrade Peter Esele, demanded that government should explain to Nigerians what prompted the decision given the fact that those affected were indicted by the committees’ reports.

“Congress is worried about the withdrawal of the charges against some of the oil subsidy fraud suspects by the Federal Government and would want to know what has made this action very urgent now. We feel that this would have been left for the courts to decide,” he said.

The TUC President-General argued that the persons currently on trial over the fuel subsidy fraud “do not represent the quantity and quality of the persons indicted by both the House of representatives and the Aig-Imoukhuede panel”.

Esele claimed the development was a ploy by government to prosecute these persons and use it as a cover to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that it was prosecuting perpetrators of the oil subsidy scam.

He called on government to be transparent in the trial of the fuel subsidy suspects so that funds looted from the national coffers would be recovered and returned to the treasury.

“It should be noted that the amount of money involved in the subsidy fraud runs into trillions of Naira but the amount allegedly stolen by those standing trial are presently about N304 billion. We then ask what about those who have cornered the other trillions? When will they be brought to trial to face justice? If this is an attempt to try these persons and use it as a cover to hoodwink the people of this nation, we want to warn that we shall resist it and it must fail.”

On the implementation of the 2012 budget, Esele said the Congress was fully in support of the House of Representatives’ position on budget implementation, but noted that the threat of impeachment was another distraction from the pressing issues confronting the economy.

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  • We endorse the position of the TUC. We had poo-pooed the ongoing trial as a circus in previous posts and the government action has shamelessly upheld our earlier submission on this matter. It is such a shameless and lame effort at fighting corruption.