Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nigeria President Jonathan Told to Tackle Corruption in Oil Industry First

Tackle Corruption in Oil Industry First, Jonathan Told

19 Jan 2012
By Abimbola Akosile
Nigeria ThisDay

President Goodluck Jonathan has been urged to urgently tackle the corruption in the oil and gas industry of the economy, to demonstrate his commitment to fighting corruption in the country, and for real development to occur.

The call was contained in a statement issued in Benin City, Edo State by the Executive Director of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Mr. David Ugolor, who also frowned at the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Dieziani Alison-Madueke’s supervision of the probe in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

According to the statement, “In the course of the weeklong paralysis of the Nigerian economy occasioned by the strike and protests called by organised labour and Civil Society Organisations over the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government, Nigerians openly asked President Goodluck Jonathan among several other questions: Why did the Federal Government not deal with the issue of corruption which informed its decision to remove subsidy on PMS?

“The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison Madueke, invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe activities of her ministry regarding fuel subsidy management, and says she will set up a committee to work with the anti-graft agency to discharge their duties along other measures being taken to respond to the issue of corruption in the petroleum ministry.

“I find this absurd and cannot understand what is happening in this country anymore. It is an irony that the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison Madueke, whose ministry is accused of corruption, is the same person setting up the probe into her ministry. What will come out of such a probe?” Ugolor queried.

“Nigerians cannot be fooled by this charade called probe in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. In law, you cannot be a judge in your own case. That is what Diezani Alison Madueke seems to be doing right now. We think that it is in her interest for an independent body to look into the books she supervised.

“This, in our view is important against the backdrop of allegations by the National Assembly that the petroleum ministry paid out more billions of Naira on PMS subsidy than was approved for it in the 2011 budget”, the statement, which was titled, ‘Diezani Madueke: You Can’t Be a Judge in Your Case’, added.

“Again, the President in his broadcast to the nation on Monday morning promised Nigerians that the report of the forensic audit carried out on the NNPC is being studied with a view to implementing the recommendations and sanctioning proven acts of corruption in the industry.

“We recall that the auditors, KPMG and another Nigerian auditing firm, S.S. Afemikhe & Co, looked into the books of the NNPC as a result of allegations of “wrongful deductions at source by the NNPC to fund its operations” by the 36 state governors. Why the long delay in releasing the audit report?

“Why is the Federal Ministry of Finance or Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) not taking a lead on the subsidy scandal? Why are they not taking the lead in the re-examination of the KPMG forensic audit report? Why should the Petroleum Minister take the lead in the probe?” the ANEEJ boss queried.

“It is for these reasons that we demand independent investigations into all of these weighty allegations. We want President Goodluck Jonathan to get to the bottom of all these and there should be no cover-ups, otherwise, the consequences would be worse than could be imagined.

“President Jonathan does not only have to show to Nigerians and the international community that his administration is responding to the monumental corruption in the oil industry, it needs to demonstrate its commitment to Nigerians that it is irrevocably committed to tackling corruption in the petroleum industry as well as other sectors of the economy, as announced in his Monday broadcast,” Ugolor emphasised.

No comments: