The Federal Government says it has recovered N29 billion out of the N232 billion oil subsidy scam. The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala dropped the hint in Abuja on Monday. Okonjo-Iweala spoke during a roundtable at the ongoing Nigerian Economic Conference.
She said that the amount was recovered from some marketers who allegedly defrauded the Federal Government in the oil subsidy payment scheme. The minister maintained that the recovery exercise was part of government determination to fight corrupt practices in the oil and gas sector.
“Now of the N232 billion that has been put forward as fraudulent claims, some of those marketers said government owed them money. We are right now able to hold N29 billion of that. So instead of paying them, we are recovering what they owe us. So, my single hope is that out of this, we have recovered virtually that amount of about N29 billion and we are looking to recover the balance of the total. Some of these people are being chased and prosecuted and the EFCC and ICPC are still investigating this.”
The minister said that about 50 marketers were being investigated over the subsidy scam. She attributed the slow pace of payment of the subsidy claims to marketers to the ongoing verification and thorough scrutiny of such claims by relevant agencies. Okonjo-Iweala reiterated that only genuine claims of oil marketers would be entertained.
“We have never stopped paying because all these issues about queues and so on, of course sometimes the marketers have said unless you pay us, we are not going to bring in oil. But we have not yielded to any of that kind of stress or even blackmail, we have continued to do our work and we will continue to pay those who are clean,” she said.