On going House of Representatives probe into the activities of Nigerian national Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiaries took a tougher dimension last week when the committee beamed its
full search light on the corporation and top players in the nation’s downstream sector.
Apart from the NNPC and its subsidiary; Petroleum and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), 27 oil marketing companies were also carpeted in what the law makers alleged as fraudulent diversion of
crude oil as well as refined petroleum products in the last 10 years.
MRS Oil and Gas was alleged to have procured more than 900, 000 metric tonnes of Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) for the local market from the NNPC at subsidised rate of N8.30k per liter, but allegedly diverted same for sale to the international market.
Giving further details into the alleged diversion, the committee disclosed that it has evidences to the effect that MRS Oil and Gas obtained the products between September 2002 and March 2003 and that the deal cost the federal government to lose a whopping N14 billion.
The lawmakers alleged further that apart form the MRS Oil and Gas diversion, other sharp practices which cumulatively amounted to about 17Billion were perpetrated with the connivance of top
officials of PPMC.
But putting up a strong defence, the acting managing director of MRS Oil and Gas, Mrs Amina Maina, said the products in question were not diverted but supplied to the domestic market. According to her, the products received from NNPC at the period in question consisted of Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO), High Pour Fuel Oil (HPFO), AGO (Diesel), PMS (Petrol) and DPK (Kerosene) and that some of the products went to Benue Cement Company, United Nigeria Textile Limited and some other local companies.
Other companies that were grilled along with MRS included:
Transfigura Beheer B.V and Vitol S.A. Transfigura and Vitol were accused of engaging in multi-million dollar businesses in Nigeria but without being registered or paying taxes to the Nigerian government.
Chairman of House Adhoc Committee, Honourable Igochukwu Aguma, said the interrogation was in furtherance of its investigations on the operations of key players in the oil sector.