HOUSE TO INVESTIGATE LEAKAGE OF REPORT
The release of the report and recommendations of the House of Representatives probe of fuel subsidy that featured prominently in the media yesterday jolted members and caused confusion, regarding its public presentation.
A member, who would not allow his name associated with the position, even said the House could possibly probe the leakage of the report when it resumes plenary session. He saw the leakage prior to the presentation as sabotage that must be unraveled by the House, noting that the members, who drafted the report should have some explanation to make to the House
The presentation of the report before the House plenary was scheduled originally for yesterday, but the leakage to the Press set the lawmakers in disarray as they were confused on what to do with it regarding the public outing.
According to him, the development from our findings created misunderstanding among the members of the panel as the guess was on how the report before its presentation got to the public domain with the figures and recommendations.
At the House yesterday, there was suppressed anger as most members of the committee made inquiries, regarding what next to do about the report after the publicity it received prior to presentation.
So far, the content of the report in the media is already creating ripples among Nigerians, who have faulted the outcome of the probe.
Whereas some say the report, which missed out some major oil companies is biased, others dispute that the period of focus of the report seems to target a particular people, and, therefore, should have been extended to 1999.
The argument on the list of the indicted oil companies the panel said should return some money to the government alleged that several major oil companies that were invited to the probe were omitted in the report and should not have been so since all the players in the sector were into the same subsidy fraud game.
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Petroleum Stakeholders Movement, in a statement, claimed that the report was lopsided and unfair.
President of the body, Comrade Frank Diobi, said: 'We have read some extracts from the report of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on fuel subsidy as published by some newspapers and the subsequent reactions from some public figures.
'From the publications, we have every reason to suspect the report because it is silent on many issues. One, many oil firms appeared before the committee, what informed the conclusion that led to the singling out of 69 oil firms out of over 100 involved in fuel importation.'
The body challenged the committee to release the details of how it arrived at its conclusion. 'It should also come up with a position on the status of other oil firms and clarify whether they have been given a clean bill of health or not. This will clear public odium, which some of these firms were subjected to by the conduct of the public hearing of the ad hoc committee,' it challenged.
The movement took the panel to task and wants to know: 'Why did the committee ignore official fact-sheets from the NNPC and PPPRA on payment of 2010 subsidy arrears on HHK, which shot up the 2011 fuel subsidy to about N1.6 trillion.
'Instead of acknowledging the sound technical explanation from the NNPC and the PPPRA, the Lawan Farouk Committee went off the track by dismissing the computed arrears for HHK (Kerosene) as illegal having been prescribed by a presidential directive in 2009. Could the NNPC and the PPPRA be watching while the nation was almost brought to a standstill because of scarcity of kerosene?
'The panel decided to trade on sentiments. There seems to be a hidden agenda to the rejection of the computed subsidy arrears on HHK by the panel.
We need to emphasise that the House cannot consider Farouk Lawan committee without a comprehensive review of fuel subsidy regime from 1999 to date.
'We want the committee to emulate the Senate on how it conducted hearing into the BPE activities. The inquiry was broad-based and broad-minded
'We appeal to the Senate to go ahead with its own probe of the fuel subsidy scam to give Nigerians the other side of the subsidy regime,' the body urged.