The Senate over the weekend accused officials of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of fraud of about N10 trillion perpetuated between 2006 and 2016 in connivance with officials of some independent marketers.
The decade long fraud was disclosed by the Senate through its committees on Petroleum (upstream and downstream) and Gas.
As a result of the fraud, the Senate Joint Committee on the oil industry has resolved to carry out a thorough investigation into the alleged fraud and bring the perpetrators to book.
Addressing journalists, the Chairmen of the Committees, Senator Kabiru Marafa (Chairman , Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream), said out of the N10 trillion fraud, NNPC alone is to account for N5.2 trillion it collected as subsidy from the Federal Government of Nigeria for importation of petroleum products, particularly Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol or fuel, between 2006 and 2016.
This is aside the 445,000 barrels of crude oil allocated to it on yearly basis for the Nation’s refineries for local consumption.
According to Marafa, available records before the committee revealed that during the period under investigation, NNPC imported fuel into the country that was more than 40 per cent of requires local consumption apart from gross under utilization of the 445,000 barrels it collected for local refining for local consumption on yearly basis due to very low capacities of the four refineries in the country then.
He said: “NNPC, being the custodian of crude oil resources of the Nation, responsible for 51 per cent of petroleum products importation into the country over the years aside the 445,000 crude allocation it gives itself on yearly basis for sales for local refining, must account for the N5.2 trillion available records show that it has spent on subsidy on its own 51 per cenr of petroleum products importation between 2006 and 2016 aside the N3.8 trillion spent on similar subsidy for Independent Marketers and about $1.5 billion yet to be accounted for by other key players in the industry.”
Marafa also disclosed that the committee has also discovered another dimension of fraud in the industry through disappearance of PMS from storages leased by NNPC without any accountability and or return of the value of the stolen product.
According to him, the 100 million litres of PMS worth N14 billion stolen by two different companies without any sanction against them yet from the NNPC is among the issues to be addressed.
Marafa said: “This committee has established the missing of 100million litres of PMS from such storage arrangement. We expected NNPC to have taken action against the two companies that carried out the theft but since it has not, we hereby ordered it to do so immediately, precisely within this week failure of which we shall make the whole details known to the public.”
According to him, all key players in the sector along with their collaborators who have taken the country for a ride during the period under review must be brought to book through exhaustive investigation to be conducted soon because President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate leadership are very much interested in unmasking those behind the scam perpetrated during the Presidency of former Presidents Olusegun Obasajo, late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and by extension, the present presidency.
He said: “President Buhari is highly supportive of this move by the Senate and we shall not fail in carrying out the needed holistic investigation on obvious sharp practices in the sector. Needed documents for the onerous task are already in our possession.”