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NNPCL top officials indicted for extortions, bribery scandal in product allocations to oil marketers

*A top official in one of the oil marketing companies claims some top management staff of the NNPC Limited were paid $100,000 cash each in what is tagged ongoing ‘system money’ before allocating the diesel cargoes for them before selling to consumers

*Allegations completely false, says NNPC Spokesman

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As consumers in the West African country contend with high petroleum prices and imminent fuel subsidy removal, some top management officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, a state oil firm, have been accused of extortions and bribery of about $100,000 from each  oil marketer before allocating diesel cargoes to them.

Related documents in the purported irregular transactions indicated that NNPC Limited recently allocated 5,000 metric tonnes of diesel each to about nine oil marketers at N485 per litre.

The companies are Northwest, Emadeb, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, AYM Shafa, AYM Shafa Energy, A and E pet, Danmarna, Pinnacle, A A Rano, BOVAS and Salbas.

A top official in one of the oil marketing companies claimed that some top officials of the National Oil Company received $100,000 cash before allocating the diesel cargoes for them, reports SaharaReporters.

The unnamed source also stated that the fund is tagged as “system money”.

“The officials collected the system money and told us, the representatives that those who didn’t pay the system money have been blacklisted.

“This has been going on for years. Sahara Reporters can do further investigation by asking other petroleum marketers as well to ascertain my claim,” said the source.

He further claimed: “In fact, we will soon release other documents on aviation fuel and PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) cargoes allocation by same NNPC for aviation fuel.

“It’s being handled strictly by one of the Board members, we have proofs.”

Allegations of extortions are completely false: Spokesman

Reacting to the oil marketers’ allegations, Mr. Garba Deen Muhammad, Chief Corporate Communications Officer at NNPC, described the allegations as false.

Muhammad reportedly clarified that only applicants that had “PMS outlets are given allocation of AGO.

“The allegations are completely false. Only applicants that have PMS outlets are given allocation of AGO (which is the product you mentioned in your enquiry). No outlet, no AGO  allocation.”

The Spokesman stated: “Depot owners that  do not have outlets are not given allocations.

“Thus, using the possession of outlets as a major criterion for the allocation of AGO, it is possible that those applicants that do not qualify, and are therefore not given allocation, may have felt aggrieved as to make those false allegations.”

He also said: “Therefore, tell the marketer whose name you withheld, or any other marketer that has made such allegations, to come forward and present evidence to support his/her allegation, if they are truthful.

Muhammad further noted: “Finally, we call on all our partners and all Nigerians to bear in mind that NNPC Limited is a law-abiding and responsible business organisation that does not tolerate fraudulent conduct. That is why as a matter of principle, we publish our Annual Financial Statement for public appraisal.”

In a related development, a recent report noted how the Ogun State Government dragged NNPC Limited to court over unpaid tax liabilities running into N9 billion.

There were also allegations of outright theft by the staff of the defunct Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), who allegedly paid a total sum of N1 billion to its consultant, Messrs. Safaya, as part of the money she helped them to save on the tax refund demands by the Ogun State government, according to report.

Following the transition of the PPMC, there is the NNPC Retail, which is for filling station owners and retailers and NNPC trucking, which is for vessels tank farms and others.

However, the state government was surprised that nothing was paid to it, but NNPC paid itself to the tune of over a billion Naira.

It was also alleged that Messrs Safaya was paid over N1 billion as 10 percent consultancy fee, but no document indicated that the Ogun State Government was paid a dime.

A staff member of the corporation, who was not happy with the alleged fraud that was committed by the defunct staff members of the corporation cited instances of direct theft by the staff of the defunct PPMC.

The staff member alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was turning a blind eye to the “massive fraud going on in NNPC because most of the principal actors involved are their people.”

The source further claimed that most of the payments to the consultants were being shared by the management of the defunct PPMC.

He challenged the EFCC officials to look at the accounts of the consultants hired by the management of the PPMC and see how the money was distributed.

On how much he thought was paid to consultants from his office, he said he could say categorically that over N20 billion was stolen under the pretext of paying ghost consultants they hired, report stated.

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