N5 Trillion Theft: Presidency Slams Punch Newspapers

The Presidency has taken on Punch newspapers for its unflattering reports on the leadership style and activities of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Punch Newspapers reported on November 25th, that N5 trillion had been stolen under President Jonathan’s administration.

Punch said, “Our correspondents arrived at the stolen sum after poring over the reports of the various committees set up by the President to probe some sectors of the economy, particularly oil and gas.”

It added, “Five trillion naira is the summation of government funds said to have been stolen, according to the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Task Force report; the Minister of Trade and Investment’s report on stolen crude; the House of Representatives fuel subsidy report and investigations into the ecological fund, SIM card registration and frequency band spectrum sale.

“The Ribadu report on the oil and gas sector put daily crude oil theft at a high 250,000 barrels daily at a cost of $6.3bn (N1.2trn) a year. This puts the total amount lost through oil theft in the two years of Jonathan’s government at over $12.6bn (N2trn).”

In his rebuttal of the claims, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe said the Punch was peddling gross misinformation and absolute falsehood.

“We reiterate that the conclusion that N5 trillion was stolen under President’s Jonathan’s watch is gross misinformation and absolute falsehood. Nowhere in the Ribadu was that conclusion reached. It never happened, and it is wholesomely untrue.

“We want to state categorically, for the umpteenth time that it was this administration that exposed the oil subsidy scam, pension scam, and also set up  the Nuhu Ribadu committee to look into the rot in the oil sector.

“We must state that the fight against corruption is not a short boxing bout, but a long fight that will be systemic, strategic and institutional. The role of the judiciary in bringing culprits to justice cannot be underestimated in the war against corruption. No matter the Federal Government’s commitment , the President has no power to jail any suspect by presidential fiat. Therefore he should not  be made a scape goat for the failure of other arms of government  who fail to judiciously discharge their responsibilities.  It is also not true that lack of funding is stalling the fight as concluded by Chairman, Coalition Against Corruption, Debo Adeniran. We must not forget what the   EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde said recently about how judges and lawyers stall trials of high profile suspects. The two trials of James Ibori inNigeriaand theUnited Kingdomfully underscore this point.

“The Federal Government, mindful of this judicial stumbling block, has put together a bill to reform the criminal justice system, so that justice will no longer be evaded through sundry abuses of court processes.

“We assure Nigerians that in spite of the persistent and perplexing mischief of deceitful politicians,  and some unpatriotic Nigerians who never sees good in whatever government does, the administration will continue its unrelenting fight  to rid our society of this menace.”

This is a war the President has set for himself and he has demonstrated the will and capability to prosecute same.

The Herald NG

The Herald NG is a leading newspaper in Nigeria at the forefront of the digital revolution.

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