By Francis Etuko, Abuja
The House of Representatives Ad-Hoc committee investigating the review of Petroleum Pump Price has discovered that one billion dollars has been unaccounted for within the period of the Presidential Special Intervention fund from 2015 till date.
Worried by what it considers some irreconcilable gap between the amount accessed so far by major oil importers and the quantity of Premium Motor Spirit, [petrol] actually imported by some of the companies scrutinized by the committee on Monday, the Managing Directors of Oando; the Group Managing Director of NNPC [Marketing] the Managing Directors of Blue sea, Dozzy Oil, SGS, Tempogate oil, Rain oil and Gas; Mainland Oil and Tiger Oil have been summoned to appear before the ad-Hoc committee at its next sitting on March 15, 2017, while the representative of Tiger Oil and SGS, Joseph Ekong and Isaac Uzor respectively were dispatched by the Hon Igbokwe-led committee to the National Assembly police station to register their statements concerning the alleged misrepresentation made to the committee on a cargo delivered by a shipping company CPO Australia as the two failed to come to terms on the actual value of PMS delivered. Both parties bandied figures between 37, 000 metric tons and 37,200 metric tons.
The committee led by Hon. Raphael Igbokwe on Monday heard the oral submissions of several oil marketing companies and found out that so much rot had pervaded the special intervention fund period between the year 2015 which involved the Central bank of Nigeria giving clearance to oil marketing companies to access dollars and enable marketers bring in products and end the era of scarcity which embarrassed the government of the day and enable major stakeholders participate freely in the process of easing the suffering of Nigerians,
Some of the companies that appeared before the Hon. Igbokwe-led ad-hoc committee include, Rain oil, Tempo Gate, Dozzy oil, Tiger oil and gas, Blue gate, Mainland oil, these companies however formed a list of a long list of companies that have been appearing before the Hon Igbokwe-led committee in the last 7 weeks since a resolution of the House called for an investigative finding to uncover why the N 145 pump price should continue to be the obtained pump price for premium motor spirit in the country,
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Ports Authority was accused by the Petroleum Product Pricing and Marketing Company, PPPMC for alleged culpability in the current price of PMS [Petrol] in the country as the agency alleged that several cost including the cost of demurrage, loading and others were responsible for the final price arrived at, despite the fact that the price of Petrol as at when products reach the various jetty’s are considerably lower.
The committee, among others, discovered to the surprise of most marketing companies that some of the mal-administration in the processes involved in the Direct Sales and Direct Purchases (DSDP) or ‘’Swapping’’ of Crude for Petrol, and Ship to Ship (STS) operations which saw lighter vessels taking PMS from Heavier vessels docked off shore due to the shallow waters at the Lagos ports, were poorly supervised due to the poor inspection by Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, PPMC and even the inspectorate division or SGS which responsibility is to supervise all Ship to Ship (STS) activities.
Some of the Committee’s findings are:
*The Committee in respect of Dozzy oil which sold Petrol above government’s recommended price, the ad-hoc Committee Chairman. Hon Raphael Igbokwe in his submission on the findings on the activities of Dozzy oil revealed thus ‘‘ we have intelligence report that you sold a margin higher than what the subsidy was, now you are coming back to claim subsidy, we demanded all the records of your import from 2012 to date, you did not provide all records of your import but limited the records to that of 2015 and 2016’’. The committee based on this finding threatened that it was writing to PPRA and the Ministry of Finance to look at the subsidy claims made by Dozzy oil.
*The committee also placed on further enquiry the handling of some shipments made by companies like; Blue Sea and Sahara, because, according to the chairman, within the period of May to June 2016 Blue sea handled a delivery for Sahara Energy which was expected to buy product and handover to the NNPC but instead of handing over the product, Sahara withheld, seemingly under a throughput operation. Igbokwe alleged that Sahara Oil claimed it was holding on to the product seemingly on behalf of the NNPC. In trying to clarify the anomaly the representative of Blue Sea at the Investigative hearing Franklin Nze claimed that the decision as to which vessel loads what products is that of the PPMC, Nze also clarified that for STS to have taken place PPMC should have witnessed the discharge.
*Other transactions that seemed unclear to the ad-Hoc committee include the Ship to Ship operation that transpired between Sahara oil which involved Blue sea involving about 37, 508 tons of petroleum products. Hon. Igbokwe questioned the balance since Tiger Oil was standing on 37, 508 tons of petrol said the committee will work with PPMC to reconcile the records.
*The committee was also curious to know if Blue Sea was operating in violation of the cabotage law which provides for a 50/50 compliance which should benefit Nigeria.
*The ad-Hoc committee while probing into one of the STS operations that involved Blue Sea and another company that took 10, 000 metric tons of products found it difficult to trace where the company in question delivered the said product.
*A major malfeasance discovered by the ad-Hoc committee was a product shipment of 33,000 metric tons by Mac Edwards which had an STS operation on it involving off loading to Lady Elizabeth, but to the shock of the committee the SGS whose duty is to supervise the operation recorded that the vessel came in with products and berthed
*while cross-examining Tempo Gate oil and Gas, its Chief Financial Officer, Joel Ighorode, he told the committee that he could not recall when the company last accessed Foreign exchange within the Special Intervention period which spanned from 2015 till date.
Ighorode also said he could not recall when Tempo Gate Oil last had business dealings with the NNPC, but a bewildered Chairman, Hon Raphael igbokwe read out details of foreign exchange accessed by Tempo Gate Oil to include eight million dollars accessed in 2016 and another five million dollars which was accessed in 2017.
Hon Igbokwe however was shocked that there exist no trace of any product importation made by Tempo Gate Oil, he therefore directed that the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Lady Ada Nwanneka, should appear before committee on the next committee sitting date.
However the representative from Pinnacle Oil “disappeared” from the committee sitting, frantic efforts to reach him proved futile as he turned off his mobile telephone set when the Committee Assistants made attempts to reach him on phone. The man who was seen spotting a black suit “disappeared” from the meeting room.
Chairman of the Committee before rounding off Monday’s sitting warned that it will not be business as usual. ‘‘Our concern is how it affects the people, how can government provide infrastructure if the commonwealth of the people are frittered away’’