Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede: Appointed To Probe Fuel Subsidy Fund He Benefited From
Chairman of the special committee appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan to verify and reconcile the records of payments on fuel subsidy, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, owns a company that received millions of Naira in subsidy payments for products it allegedly failed to deliver.
Detailed company searches by an Abuja-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Youth Alliance against Fuel Subsidy Removal, revealed that Mr. Aig-Imoukhuede, who is the Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, also owns Ice Energy Petroleum Trading Limited, which allegedly received $2,131,166.32 in hard currency (about N345.3 million) in 2011.
It is not clear whether the company delivered the product for which it was paid but the House of Reps Subsidy probe committee said it did not.
The defunct Farouk Lawan-led House of Representative Committee had, in its report, queried the company for receiving payment when no petroleum products were imported and supplied.
Ice Energy was one of the 45 companies invited to appear before the probe committee, but which failed to either honour the invitation or submit documents concerning their involvement in the monumental fraud that attended the subsidy scheme.
According to Premium Times, findings by Youth Alliance at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and made available to it, show that Mr. Aig-Imoukhuede heads the three-man board of Ice Energy, which has Iroche Chuks, as managing director, and Aikhionbare Sam, as member.
Asking Aig-Imoukhuede to probe self and accomplices
Following the shocking revelation in the report of the House of Representatives Committee that fuel subsidy payment, for which about N245billion was appropriated in the 2011 budget, had suddenly spiralled to over N2.6 trillion (over 2,200 per cent) as at December last year, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, constituted a Technical Committee on review of Fuel Subsidy Payments, and appointed Mr. Aig-Imuokhuede as its head.
Abusidiqu.com wonders if the ministry (and the Minister) can say they are not aware of Mr. Aig-Imuokhuede’s involvement with Ice Energy before appointing him to the committee, which was mandated to verify, ascertain and reconcile discrepancies related to all subsidy arrears payments to petroleum products marketers.
Following the completion of the assignment, President Jonathan, apparently glossing over the indictment and complicity of Mr. Aig-Imuokhuede’s company in the fuel subsidy scandal, last Thursday re-appointed him to head another 15-man committee to further verify and reconcile all claims made in the report of the Technical Committee he led.
The president requested the new committee “to properly identify all cases of overpayments and/or irregular payments; to accurately identify all likely fraudulent cases for criminal investigations, and to review any other pertinent issues that may arise from its work and make appropriate recommendations.”
Mr. Jonathan’s decision to appoint the Access Bank’s MD to lead such an important committee, observers say, underlines the administration’s reluctance to act appropriately on the report of the House committee, which uncovered monumental fraud in the fuel subsidy regime.
Premium Times said when it sought to know from the president’s spokesperson, Reuben Abati, whether the president was aware that Mr. Aig-Imokhuoede also benefited from the fuel subsidy payments he was asked to verify, his response was a question: “Are you sure?”
When our reporter answered in the affirmative, he continued, “If that is the case, the question to ask is: Is his company guilty of any wrongdoing?”
When he was asked whether that did not amount to asking the Access Bank’s managing director to probe himself over the scam, Mr Abati said “No” pointing out that “it would only amount to asking an insider to do an inside investigation.”
Mr. Abati, who promised to get more information, and revert to our reporter, never did by the time this report was published on Monday morning.
Putting faces to ‘subsidy marketers’
Youth Alliance against Fuel Subsidy Removal said it conducted the search on the indicted companies to “put a face to the indicted companies, to let Nigerians know exactly who took their money and then formed a cabal stronger than the government.”