Henry Nkem Obi, Chief Operating Officer of the PPMC, made this known yesterday in Abuja, while making his submission at the two-day investigative hearing organized by the House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) on the disappearance of the petroleum products and the spate of kerosene explosions in the country.
Nkem Obi informed the committee that before the diversion of the petroleum products by Chief Ubah, the NNPC had an agreement with Capital Oil that no party tampers with any petroleum products consignment in its custody without the knowledge of the other party.
He stated further that upon the NNPC discovering that Capital Oil had diverted the petroleum products in its custody, the national oil company reached out to relevant and sister public agencies.
“We’ve since engaged in the process of negotiations for the defaulting party to return the products to the NNPC. Capital Oil has paid N2 billion and negotiations to get the full payment are on-going,” the NNPC executive said.
This clarification is coming on the heels of the ultimatum given by the House committee to Chief Ubah and Capital Oil to appear before the committee unfailingly today to give testimony in relation to the disappearance of N11 billion worth of petroleum products belonging to the NNPC.
Chairman of the committee, Rep. Akinlaja Joseph, who issued the ultimatum, accused Ubah and Capital Oil of evading service of the invitation from the committee summoning him to appear. Also expected to appear before the House committee today is the Managing Director of the NNPC retail.
Earlier, while declaring the investigative hearing open, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said that the disappearance of the N11billion worth of petroleum products belonging to the NNPC from the Capital Oil tank farm in Lagos, was capable of jeopardizing the national economy by reducing government’s revenue and hampering efforts to exit from economic recession.
Represented by the Deputy Whip, Rep. Pally Iriase, the speaker charged the committee to thoroughly investigate the alleged diversion and ensure that the perpetrators are sanctioned.
This he added will serve as a deterrent to others from engaging in such acts of economic sabotage and prevent a re-occurrence.
The investigative hearing which continues today will also look at the desirability of the government to fashion out a clear cut policy on the deregulation of kerosene, arrest the resurgence of kerosene explosions with attendant fatalities and investigating the illegal transportation of petroleum products and the recent fire incident at the Suleja depot in Niger state.
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