Nigeria ends auditor contracts over fuel subsidy graft

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Nigeria has terminated the contracts of two accounting firms involved in auditing its fuel subsidy payments, after a parliamentary inquiry found massive corruption in the government-run scheme, the finance ministry said on Saturday.

It was the first public reaction to a parliamentary probe this week that found mismanagement and theft by top Nigerian officials involved in the fuel subsidy scheme had cost the country $6.8 billion in three years.

The lawmakers called on President Goodluck Jonathan to overhaul the state oil firm and ministry.

The report said the state oil firm, private marketers and the regulator owe a combined 1.07 trillion naira ($6.8 billion) in unpaid debts to the government, mostly for subsidies they received for fuel that was never delivered.

Nigeria tried in vain to end petrol subsidies on Jan. 1, but a week of public protests forced the government to partially re-instate the payments, seen as a massive drain on its budget.

Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was amongst the government officials pushing for the removal of the subsidy.

“The services of the audit and accounting firms responsible for certifying the documents and claims of marketers before payment have been terminated. The companies are Akintola Williams and Co and Adekanola and Co.,” Paul Nwabuikwu, special advisor to the finance minister, said in a statement.

Nigeria’s oil industry has been criticised for being corrupt for years but audits and reports have rarely spurred any action and have never resulted in high level officials being charged.

The missing $6.8 billion equals around a quarter of Nigeria’s budget.

The statement also said a committee had been set up to look at ways of reforming the fuel subsidy scheme.

Apart from the malfeasance associated with it, critics say the fuel subsidy also fills up the fuel tanks of middle class motorists at the expense of the poor.

In : Finance

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  • Dan

    If Goodluck is still in power, then let him recover the N1.07 trillion nd prosecute d perpetrator or else keep shut. Nigerians dont need feeble hearted leader for now.