The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has uncovered a case of alleged conspiracy between top officials of the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and some major marketers of the products in the country that has cost the government over N86 billion.
PPMC, a subsidiary company of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC), is in charge of distribution and sale of refined petroleum products, throughout the country.
The alleged fraud, according to a source at the commission, borders on racketeering of petroleum products and refusal to remit monies from sales by both “credit companies” and the PPMC to government coffers.
“It is a very interesting case and shows how private companies could collude with government officials in cheating the government. This is a case of abuse of office, economic sabotage, illegal diversion of petroleum products, illicit enrichment and criminal conspiracy,” the source said.
A crack team of EFCC, according to the source, found links as to how some officials of the PPMC cover up for failure of marketers to pay off for products supplied to them by the company, thereby piling up debts to the tune of N86, 421,509,952 over a period of ten years.
“It is a grand conspiracy between the PPMC/NNPC and the suspected marketers who deliberately withheld government revenues from products received on credit without due payment or remittance to Federation Account,” our source added.
The EFCC source also said the process of credit sales to the major marketers was shrouded in secrecy, thereby making it “heavily shielded with fraud and criminal conspiracies.”
Around 85 per cent of the N86 billion bad debt, according to our source, is owed by Oando, Conoil, Total, Mobil, MRS, Forte Oil, NIPCO and NNPC Retail (Mega Stations).
Oando top the chart with N23.8 billion to its name, followed by NNPC Retail which owed the government N20.3 billion as at July, this year.
However, with the commencement of investigations by the EFCC into the alleged conspiratorial deals, the commission had recovered over N46 billion for the federal government.
A list of recoveries made available by PPMC as at August 1, 2016, indicated that NNPC Retail had returned N15.9 billion, Master Energy, N1.2 billion, NIPCO, N3.5 billion, while MRS had paid back N2.2 billion, among others.
The commission has also invited top officials of the PPMC and NNPC for questioning over the alleged fraud.
Among those invited to the Kano office of the EFCC are the supervisor of the Kaduna Depot, Ajabi Hussaini, Area Manager, PPMC, Kaduna, Rabo Shuaibu, and Manager, Programming and Operations, Ahmad Tukur.
Others quizzed in the course of the investigation included PPMC’s Executive Director Commercial, Ezeala Justin, Executive Director Shared Services, Mustapha Diso Mohammed and Manager, Finance and Accounts, Otitonaiye Kolade.