Another indication that the country’s oil sector is deep in corruption emerged on Thursday with a petition by the Liberian government alleging that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation supplied one million barrels of crude in excess of its request in 2009.
The petition tendered by a member of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on the Subsidy Regime, Mr. James Faleke, indicates that while the Liberian government requested 10,000 barrels of crude, the NNPC allegedly used a Nigerian firm to supply one million barrels in excess of the request.
The petition was sent by the Office of the Auditor-General of Liberia.
The petitioners claimed that the corporation collected full payment for the excess supply but did not remit the money to the Federal Government.
“The petition is here with us; it has not been addressed. We just feel that we should bring it to your notice”, Faleke told the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Austin Oniwon, who appeared before the panel.
Oniwon dismissed the matter, saying that he was not aware of the allegation but he promised to investigate the allegation and report back to the committee.
Meanwhile, Total Nigeria Plc (Downstream) has denied that it collected excess subsidy payment of N2.6bn in 2011.
The company claimed that what was recorded as overpayment against it came as a result of “time-lag effect between submission of claims and the effective date of payments.”
The panel had accused Total last week of receiving N18.8bn in 2011 as subsidy on petrol instead of the N16.1bn due to it.
The Panel said the company’s Managing Director, Mr. Francis Bussagol, did not give satisfactory answers when the allegation was made last week.
However, Bussagol returned on Thursday with documents to explain what the panel said was overpayment.
He told the committee that in 2010, the company imported seven cargoes with a subsidy value of N11.3bn.
However, he said Total was paid only N8.7bn, representing claims for five cargoes.
The MD added, “The outstanding balance of N2.6bn was paid in March 2011 for the remaining two cargoes of PMS received in November and December 2010 respectively.”
The panel also summoned Trafigura Oil and Duke Oil to appear before it on Monday next week to clarify allegations against them.
The committee had directed Oniwon to bring the two companies or they could be barred from operating in Nigeria.
Referring to Trafigura in particular, Lawan said, “We have issues with Trafigura; they must come on Monday unfailingly. The NNPC GMD must bring the company.”