The federal government is being owed at least N86.4 billion as at July 21, 2016 by marketers of petroleum products, according to Premium Times.
The major culprits are members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the NNPC Retail (mega filling stations).
The debts owed by the marketers are for products allocated to the companies by the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) for distribution over the last 10 years.
The documents were filed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
85 per cent of the debt is owed by members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the NNPC Retail (mega filling stations), while the independent marketers owe the balance.
The breakdown of the debts include: NNPC Retail (N22.56 billion), Oando (N25.05 billion), Forte Oil (N10.09 billion), Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO) N5.5 billion, Total Oil (N1.42 billion), Conoil (N1.3 billion) and Mobil Oil (N276.95 million).
The independent marketers include Master Energy (N5.5 billion), MRS Oil & Gas (N3.997 billion), Heyden Petroleum (N2.7 billion), Danium Petroleum (N2.35 billion), A&E Petroleum (N1.89 billion), Rahamaniyya Petroleum N1.65 billion), Càpital Oil (N1.3 billion), and Amicable Petroleum (N495.35 million).
Others debtors are Aiteo Petroleum (N426.37 million), Honeywell Oil (N40.96 million), DM Kurfi (N36.11 million), Ascon Petroleum (N20.04 million), Azman Oil (N19.35 million), Felande Petroleum (N8.4 million), Sharon Oil (N3.8 million) and Zamson Petroleum (N3.06 million).
Top on the list of debtors is Oando PLC, owned by Wale Tinubu which owes N25.05 billion.
Forte Oil, owned by another billionaire Femi Otedola, owes N10.09 billion, while Conoil owned by Mike Adenuga owes N1.3 billion. Capital Oil owned by Ifeanyi Ubah has a debt of N1.3 billion.
The firms received the products under the intervention bulk allocation arrangement and intervention truck distribution from the PPMC, but the oil marketers have refused to pay the government over the years.
The EFCC received a petition from a law firm, B. I. Murtala & Co., which accused top NNPC and PPMC officials of “abuse of office, economic sabotage, illegal diversion of petroleum products, illicit enrichment and corruption as well as criminal conspiracy”.
The petitioner called on the Commission to investigate certain individuals including the Supervisor and Area Manager, Kaduna Depot of PPMC, Ajabi Hussaini and Rabo Shuaibu respectively, and Manager, Programming & Operations, NNPC, Abuja, Ahmed Tukur Gwarzo.
Others include Executive Directors, Commercial as well as Shared Services, PPMC, Ezecha Justin and Mustapha Muhammad respectively, and Manager, Finance & Accounts, PPMC, Titonenye Kokade.
“There exists a conspiracy between PPMC/NNPC and suspected oil marketers who deliberately withheld huge government revenues in respect of petroleum products received on credit without due payment or remittance into the Federation Account,” the petitioner said.
The law firm alleged that the PPMC and NNPC colluded with marketers to defraud the country, which led to massive diversion of government revenues from the federation account.
After investigations by the EFCC, NNPC Retail paid back over N15.95 billion between July 25 and August 1, 2016, with over N6.62 billion still outstanding. The EFCC also recovered over N5.57 billion from NIPCO, leaving a balance of N1.93 billion.
Other recoveries include N1.2 billion from Master Energy, with N4.31 billion still unpaid; N2.2 billion from MRS Petroleum, which still has N1.75 billion to pay, while Rahamaniyya Oil & Gas repaid N400 million, to leave N1.25 billion unsettled.
The PPMC, through a memo, August 1, 2016, by the NNPC Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Omoluabi Victor, informed the EFCC of the payments.
Attempts to reach IPMAN President, Chinedu Okoronkwo, on Sunday was unsuccessful, as he failed to pick his phone calls
However, a senior official of the MOMAN, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue, said the relationship between NNPC/PPMC and marketers allowed marketers to owe for a long time without reconciliation and payment.
“Products are supplied and an average of two weeks grace given for payment. Depending on the time of reconciliation, there could be credit and debit here and there. There is no month marketers would not owe NNPC for products supplied.
“There is always overlapping period before reconciliation. But, no marketer would owe for a long period of 10 years without NNPC taking action to recover monies from them,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the acting General Manager, NNPC Retail, Ibrahim Jumah, said although PPMC was one of the major sources for products by NNPC Retail, there was a regular arrangement for reconciliation for payment.
“NNPC Retail has a credit period of two weeks with PPMC. But, from June, we wrote to PPMC and insisted we want to proceed on cash and carry basis. So, we have been paying for products, and sometimes cannot even lift all,” Mr. Jumah, who is also the GM, Finance & Accounts, NNPC Retail,” he said.
“The PPMC is owing us N1.9 billion for coastal products we paid for about two years ago and have not been able to lift. So, they cannot classify us as indebted to them.”
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.