By Paul C Nwabuikwu

In its recent story on subsidy payments to oil marketers in Nigeria, Reuters confuses the facts and obfuscates the issues.

It is well known that the Federal Ministry of Finance along with other agencies, working under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan has achieved measurable success in cleaning up subsidy fraud.

For instance, there is significant reduction in payments made to marketers partly due to tighter procedures introduced as part of the clean-up. It is unfortunate that Reuters largely ignores this progress.

It will be recalled that the Aig-Imoukhuede Presidential Task Force which investigated subsidy payments had referred firms named for various breaches in its report to the Special Fraud Office for further investigation.

Some of these firms had contested their indictment and produced additional evidence to clear themselves.

To ensure that no mistakes were made, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance directed that firms which were cleared by the Special Fraud Office go through a second stage of investigation and this was done.

The SFU confirmed in writing that three of the firms – Pinnacle, Somerset and Top Oil - successfully passed through the second clearance process. These, apparently, were the three companies that the Reuters report claimed were still being investigated.

Please note that the Federal Ministry of Finance has not received any communication from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) on the investigation of any company even though the DMO under the Ministry had written to enquire.

If there are any subsequent issues, the Ministry has not been notified and we can only proceed based on the latest available information from the appropriate official sources.

The above information was provided to Reuters by the Federal Ministry of Finance in an interview and it is curious that in reporting the story, the Reuters correspondent chose to leave out many pertinent facts as outlined in this statement.

Paul C Nwabuikwu
Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance