Reps probe alleged loss of N91tn by NNPC
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is enmeshed in another controversy over an alleged oil deal in excess of N91tn that may have been lost by the country.
In the deal, now a subject of investigation by the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), a Chinese firm, Hungbohai Petrochemical Industry Limited, is alleged to have approval to lift over 80 trillion metric tonnes of Low Pour Fuel Oil from Nigeria for 35 years.
The panel, which is chaired by a member from Ondo State, Mr Joseph Akinlaja, heard on Wednesday that Hungbohai commenced lifting of the LPFO since January 27, 2016.
The panel was informed that two indigenous oil firms, Mahat Oil and Gas Limited and Alkhairi Oil Limited, acted as facilitators.
While Alkhairi Oil was said to be the NNPC’s agent, the panel was informed that Mahat Oil signed as the representative of Hungbohai in Nigeria.
The House had mandated the Akinlaja panel to probe the matter after a consortium of law firms and the Chambers of O. J. Onoja (SAN) petitioned the legislature to raise the alarm that Nigeria was being “short-changed in excess of N91tn.”
The House was told that the consortium blew the lead over the deal after its client, Alhaji Ahmad Bamali, an interested party, uncovered the shady nature of the transaction and the “overall implications for the nation’s economy and generations unborn.”
The representative of the consortium, Mr Bola Aidi, while making a submission to the panel at the National Assembly in Abuja on Wednesday, recalled how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission began investigating the case but allegedly later retreated because of the powerful forces involved in the deal.
However, the NNPC did not appear at the hearing on Wednesday, but wrote to ask for another date and denied the existence of the transaction.
Aidi stated that the petitioners were further alarmed by the corporation’s denial that the transaction existed, a reason he urged the panel to ensure that a thorough investigation was conducted.