Heads might have started to roll as a result of the damning revelations made by the ad hoc Committee of the House of Representatives that investigated the fuel subsidy regime recently. The Federal Government has sacked the accounting and auditing firms of Akintola Williams & Co and Adekanola & Co. The companies verified the documentations and claims submitted by oil marketers and contractors before claims were paid, but in spite of the verifications done by the companies, discrepancies have been found to have taken place.
The Federal Government has also appointed Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede as the Chairman of the Committee that will verify claims of arrears for payment for 2011 which marketers are currently claiming.
Street Journal reported the role played by Aig Imoukhuede in the take over of Intercontinental Bank by Access Bank which he runs.As at thje time of the take over of Intercontinental, Aig Imoukhuede and Herbert Wigwe, both Managing Directors of Intercontinental Bank were on the list of those who owed the bank their company acquired.
The sack of the two firms were contained in a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance and signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, it reads in part: “Concerned about the management of the subsidy regime, the Federal Ministry of Finance has for the last two months been reviewing aspects of the implementation of the subsidy regime related to its functions. The review has produced a lot of useful details on what was wrong with the system and what needs to be done to ensure improvement going forward.
The review process kicked off in February when the ministry and relevant government agencies held a meeting with bankers and marketers at the instance of President Goodluck Jonathan. This was followed by a subsequent session with the accounting and auditing firms to re-evaluate their work.
Based on the review, the Ministry has taken the following steps:
• 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.
• The Ministry has established a committee made up of credible and experienced persons from the private and public sector with strong technical component under the chairmanship of Mr. Aigboje Imoukuede to examine the claims of payment arrears for 2011 currently being made by marketers. This is to ensure that only genuine claims are honoured.
• The ministry is also finalising a new and more effective system to replace the current arrangement and, in this regard, a second committee has been set up to propose a good way to forward.
Based on other outcomes of the review, the ministry will take further actions as necessary.
In a related development, the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has put on hold further depletion of the Excess Crude Account (ECA).”