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The Nigeria Senate disclosed yesterday that it has uncovered an
alleged fraud of N10 trillion by staff of Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation, NNPC, in connivance with officials of some independent marketers
and other key players in the petroleum sector between 2006 and 2016.

 Against this backdrop, the Senate joint
committees on Petroleum (upstream and downstream) and that of Gas will this
week begin a probe of the affected companies, heads of government agencies and
parastatals.

The committee also said it had the
support of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate leadership to carry out a
thorough and holistic investigation on the alleged fraud and bring to book the
perpetrators, stressing that the amount involved was huge enough to finance the
country’s budget for two consecutive years.

 Addressing journalists, weekend, on
the alleged scam, Senator Kabiru Marafa, Chairman, Senate Committee on
Petroleum Downstream, who spoke for chairmen of the committees, said of the N10
trillion fraud, NNPC alone would account for N5.2 trillion it collected as
subsidy from the Federal Government for importation of petroleum products,
particularly Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol between 2006
and 2016. SENATE CHAMBER According to Senator Marafa, the NNPC will also
account for the 445,000 barrels of crude oil allocated to it on yearly basis
for local refining by the nation’s refineries.

 Those fingered in the alleged fraud Fingered in
the fraud by the Senate and already listed to appear before the committee
during the planned public investigative hearing that will last a minimum of
three days are past and present Chief Executive Officers of NNPC; Central Bank
of Nigeria, CBN; Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS; Nigerian Customs
Service; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA; Nigerian
Ports Authority, NPA and all Licensed Inspection Agencies.

 Also to be invited by the committee are all
bona fide end users, established and globally recognized large volume product
trading companies; indigenous companies engaged in Nigeria oil and gas with
trading of petroleum product expertise; product trading brokers; shipping
companies and shops brokers, among others. Gross under utilization of 445,000
barrels Speaking further, Senator Marafa, who was flanked at the briefing by
Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (upstream), Senator Donald Tayo
Alasoadura, APC, Ondo Central; Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Senator
Bassey Albert Akpan, PDP, Akwa Ibom North-West;

Senator Gershom Bassey, PDP, Cross
River South and Philip Aduda, PDP, FCT, said available records before the
committee showed that during the period under investigation, NNPC imported fuel
into the country that was more than 40 per cent of the nation’s local
consumption.

 According to him, this is apart from gross
under utilization of the 445,000 barrels it collected for local refining and
consumption on yearly basis due to very low capacities of the four refineries
in the country then. Marafa 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 which vailable records show that it has spent on subsidy on
its own 51 per cent of petroleum products importation between 2006 and 2016.
“This is 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 disclosed that the committee had
also discovered another dimension of fraud in the industry through the
disappearance of PMS from storage leased by NNPC without any accountability
and/or return of the value of the stolen product. According to him, there is a
case of 100 million litres of PMS worth N14 billion stolen by two companies
without any sanction against them by the NNPC. Marafa threatened:  “This committee has established the loss 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,
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 Obasajo, 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.

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