Senate exposed N10 Trillion petroleum industry fraud



The Senate said at the weekend it discovered a N10 trillion fraud allegedly perpetrated by officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) between 2006 and last year.



It said officials of the NNPC connived with independent oil marketers and some others in the petroleum industry in the deal.

Senate Joint Committee on Upstream and Downstream and Gas broke the news at a briefing in Abuja.

Chairmen, Senate Committee on Petroleum (downstream) Kabiru Marafa, who spoke on behalf of the joint committee, said of the N10 trillion, NNPC is to account for N5.2 trillion it collected as subsidy from the Federal Government for importation of petroleum products, particularly Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) between 2006 and 2016



The amount, he said, was aside the 445,000 barrels of crude oil allocated to it on yearly basis for the country’s refineries for local consumption.

Marafa (Zamfara Central) noted that records showed that during the period under investigation, “NNPC imported fuel into the country that was more than 40 per cent of local consumption apart from gross under-utilisation of the 445,000 barrels it collected for local refining for local consumption on yearly basis”.

He said: “NNPC, being the custodian of crude oil resources of the nation, is responsible for 51 per cent of petroleum products importation into the country over the years aside the 445,000 crude allocations it gives itself on yearly basis for sales for local refining. It must account for the N5.2 trillion available records show that it has spent on subsidy on its own 51 per cent 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,” he said.

Marafa added that the committee also discovered another dimension of fraud in the industry through disappearance of PMS from storage leased by NNPC without any accountability and or return of the value of the stolen product.

He said it was discovered that 100 million litres of PMS worth N14 billion was stolen by two different companies without sanction by the NNPC.

Marafa said: “This committee has established the missing of 100 million 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 order it to do so immediately, precisely within this week, failure of which we shall make the whole details known to the public.

“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 Obasanjo, late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and by extension, the present presidency.

“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.”

The committee listed those to appear before it for further hearing as past and present chief executives of NNPC, their counterparts from the independent marketers, licensed inspection agency, Nigeria Ports Authority, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Customs Service and NIMASA.

Marafa said the whistle-blower approach being adopted by the Federal Government in unravelling fraudulent practices of corrupt public officials would be adopted in fishing out those involved in the massive oil sector fraud.

The joint committee chairman warned that sanctions await players in the sector who might want to frustrate the investigation by deliberately refusing to honour invitation sent to them or concealing needed information.

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