Tackle oil sector crimes with special unit, CSOs tell FG
BY MICHAEL EBOH
The Federal Government has been called upon to set up a special financial crimes unit for the oil and gas sector to deal with corruption in the sector, especially in the area of fuel subsidy.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day workshop on monitoring and reporting of oil subsidy fraud/corruption cases in Nigeria, tagged; ‘Advocacy against impunity in oil subsidy regime in Nigeria,’ organised by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), with support from Justice for All (J4A) and the Department for International Development, DfID.
According to the communiqué, the Federal Government should create a Special Oil and Gas Sector Financial Crimes Unit as recommended by the Nuhu Ribadu Committee as the anti-corruption agencies are not sufficiently equipped to deal with these specialised crimes.
The communiqué was signed by Mr. Leo Atakpu, Deputy Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ; Mr. Kunle Idowu, Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organisations (NNNGOs); Mrs. Oyindamola Musa-Oseni, Socio- Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Comrade Lawal Ibrahim Adebayo, Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centre, Lagos.
The group called on the Presidency to demonstrate the political will to prosecute all companies and individuals indicted by the Lawan Farouk and Nuhu Ribadu Committees on oil subsidy fraud and corruption, adding that there should be no shielding of sacred cows by government.
The group in the communiqué expressed concern over the management of funds under the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), running into billions of dollars saved from fuel subsidy since January 2012 till date.
They also lamented the nonchalant attitude of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiaries in the release of information to the general public even when sought under the Freedom of Information Act, especially as it relates to oil subsidy fraud and corruption investigation and prosecution since January 2012 till date.
Continuing, the communiqué stated, “The Judiciary should expeditiously adjudicate all pending criminal matters relating to oil subsidy fraud/corruption and bring all erring persons to justice as justice delayed is justice denied.
“The Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACAs) should release and make public information on all cases currently going on relating to oil subsidy fraud and corruption.
“The National Assembly should revisit the issue of oil subsidy fraud/corruption and demand accountability from the executive and judicial arms of government as part of its oversight functions.
“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Special Fraud Unit, SFU, should be properly financed and resourced to execute their mandates of thoroughly investigating and prosecution of suspects.”
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