The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has resumed investigations on the members of staff of the Federal Inland Revenue Service over N1.2 billion Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) fraud.
The EFCC on Friday began a forensic analysis of the bank accounts of the FIRS staff by obtaining details of their financial statements in various commercial banks with the aim of discovering the perpetrators of the fraud.
The backstory: In April 2019, the EFCC had reportedly arrested some senior management and junior officials of FIRS over the misappropriation of N2.1 billion which was said to have been taxpayers fund. It was observed that the funds that were paid to the organisation were not received as tax, but as the support services funds of the organization.
The FIRS officials were also said to have received billions of Naira as travel allowance without embarking on any trip. The EFCC was, however, able to recover part of the DTA allowance from the beneficiaries.
According to reports, there were claims that the FIRS Chairman, Babatunde Fowler had attempted to influence the Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu to drop the ongoing investigations into the operations of the FIRS but the anti-crime agency persisted with the case.
So far, the EFCC has made progress with the case, as the Head of the FIRS Coordinator Support Services Group, Peter Hena, who allegedly authorized the illegal payment has been nabbed. He has also revealed how the DTA fraud was perpetrated.
Also, the FIRS Director of Finance, Mr Mohammed Auta, had disclosed that he acted on the instructions of Hena to disburse the fund. Auta and other beneficiaries were said to have received millions of Naira as duty tour allowances.
The Acting EFCC Spokesman, Tony Orilade stated that investigations are still ongoing and the media will be briefed as and when due.
Agip shut oil facility in Bayelsa due to oil spillage, environmental pollution reported
Agip on Wednesday confirmed an oil leak, resulting in a shutdown.
The Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has confirmed the shutdown of its Idu oilfields at Egbebiri settlement within Biseni in Yenagoa Local Government Area in Bayelsa, due to an oil spillage.
A Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) report on the incident said that the leakage at the facility could be traced to equipment failure due to a rupture at the wellhead.
According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Eni, the parent company of NAOC, in a response statement, said the facility was shut down to prevent further damage to the environment.
What Eni is saying
An Eni spokesperson on behalf of the Italian Energy firm, in a statement, said, “As soon as the incident was reported, we activated our oil spill response, shut in the well, and notified government regulatory agencies.
“The Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) was carried out on 09/05/2021, with the participation of community representatives and the government regulatory agencies.
“The event occurred within the Company’s wellhead location which is paved and walled round. There is no significant third-party impact,” Eni stated.
Environmental Rights Group reports environmental degradation
An environmental rights group, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), however, said that the incident which discharged crude and associated gas had severely polluted the environment.
The Non-Governmental Organisation said that a visit to the spill site showed pictorial evidence of the crude spreading beyond NAOC’s right of way as nearby vegetation were affected as a result of the crude impact.
The Head of Field Operations at ERA/FoEN, Mr Alagoa Morris, in a field report on the spill said the Idu fields was notorious for frequent spills caused by equipment failure.
He said, “The people of Egbebiri in Biseni kingdom have experienced several oil spills over the years. And all the oil spill incidents documented by the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) in this community environment have occurred as a result of equipment failure and on Wellheads.
“ERA/FoEN has had cause to visit the environment of Idu Well 5 and 11 located within the same place in the past and it has always been Idu Well 11 spewing crude oil into the environment.
“Available records from ERA/FoEN indicate that there have been previous oil spills from this particular Idu Well 11 operated by Agip. Before concluding this Field Report, ERA/FoEN confirmed that Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) was carried out on Sunday, 9th May 2021.
“This is why the official Spill Reference No 2021/LAR/028/058 is indicated in this report; sourced from the JIV report. Cause of spill was attributed to equipment failure,” ERA/FoEN stated.
The report quoted a resident of the community simply identified as Georgie as saying that the spill incident of May 7 spilled oil from around 10 p.m till about 8 a.m the next day before the leak was stopped adding that the level of damage was enormous.
What you should know
It can be recalled that in a similar circumstance, Shell Petroleum Development Company reported an oil pipeline spillage at its Okordia-Rumekpe 14-inch crude truck line, discharging about 213 barrels of crude oil into the Ikarama community in Bayelsa State and polluting about 1.34 hectares of land.
This new leakage is the latest in a series of oil spillages by the multinational oil exploration and production companies, which has put them in conflict with the host communities.
Nigeria records system collapse during holidays
Nigeria’s national electricity grid collapsed on Wednesday morning.
The Nigerian grid has experienced a partial collapse, dealing a blow for stay at home Nigerians during the holidays.
This was confirmed in a statement by the Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), as seen by Nairametrics.
What EKEDC is saying about the grid collapse:
“Dear customer, there is a partial system collapse on the National Grid. Our TCN partners are working to restore supply immediately. Please bear with us.”
According to latest reports, partial restoration of power is already occurring across the country.
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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- Seplat Petroleum Development Company postpones Q1 2021 dividend payment date.
- FMDQ approves quotation of MTN’s Commercial Paper worth N73.5 billion.
- MTN Nigeria issues a 7-Year Series 1 bond worth N110 billion.
- Caverton Offshore Support Group reports profit after tax of N520 million in Q1 2021.
- Okomu Oil proposes dividend worth N6.7 billion for shareholders.