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Forex manipulation: Reps to determine level of NNPC officials involvememt

by O. S David

Forex manipulation: Reps to determine level of NNPC officials involvememt

The House of Representatives has re-emphasised the need to determine the level of involvement of officials of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the alleged foreign exchange manipulation.

Recall that two CBN Directors were arrested last week by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over manipulation of forex allocation.

Worried by the discrepancies in the documents submitted by the CBN and most of the oil marketers and their agencpts, the Adhoc Committee on the review of the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), chaired by Nnanna Igbokwe, had last week invited Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of Petroleum Resources and Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to clarify issues relating to the special intervention foreign exchange worth over $1 billion allocated to some oil marketers since 2015.

Also invited to appear before the Adhoc Committee on Friday, 7th April 2017 are: Chief of Naval Staff, Managing Director of Petroleum Pricing Marketing Company (PPMC), Director General of Nigerian Maritime Safety and Administration (NIMASA), among others.

 

The special intervention foreign exchange was approved by Federal Government following the removal of the subsidy on petroleum products in May 2016, to enable the oil marketers access forex for importation under the Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) arrangement.

Preliminary investigation conducted by the Adhoc Committee revealed that some of the companies which applied for forex through Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) diverted the special intervention forex for other purposes.

One of the lawmakers who spoke with select Legislative Correspondents confirmed that the Adhoc Committee may be “compelled to extend invitation to the EFCC for further ascertain the level of involvement of some NNPC officials in the forex manipulation scandal.

“You’ll recall the experience we had during one of the hearings when the chairman referred representatives of some of the invited companies to the Police Attachee and Sergeant-at-Arms to help with useful statements. The issues at stake are highly revealing. We hope to tidy up the report and make appropriate recommendation to the House after engaging the Ministers and CBN Governor,” the lawmaker said.

Documents obtained by the Ad-hoc Committee on the review of the price of premium motor spirit (PMS), chaired Nnanna Igbokwe, showed that most of the beneficiaries (including portfolio marketers) of the special intervention forex, confirmed the receipt of multi-million dollar forex through their respective bankers.

However representatives of the affected companies during the investigative hearing denied knowledge about the payment.

In its bid to ascertain the level of participation of the oil marketers in the lifting of oil from the country’s refineries and importation of petroleum products, the Committee requested for “records of all supplies

received from sources of supply including direct imports, purchases from PPMC and NNPC Retail, local purchases from private dealers and purchases from Nigerian refineries from 2012 to date.

“Pro-forma invoice and proof of payment for the said products; family tree to show STS transfers, proof of payment and particulars of shuttle vessels used for lightering services; proof of payment of maritime levies/charges to NPA and NIMASA as well as Depot, Storage Tank/facility used and proof of payment,” among others.

 

In a letter dated 13th March, 2017, the Committee alleged that one of the indicted Companies H. A. R Petroleum Services Limited obtained forex worth $11,878,471.67 at the bid rate of 160.01 for importation of PMS in January 2015 and additional sum of $14,607,992.69 at the bid rate of 310 for importation of PMS in June 2016.

 

But in its response to the Adhoc Committee’s letter, Andrew Haladu, Director of H. A. R Petroleum Services Limited who denied the receipt of the forex from the apex bank, noted that the company handles logistics related services and never participated in importation of petroleum products.

 

“We have reviewed your kind invitation and are somewhat taken aback and perplexed by its contents. Please note that H.A.R Petroleum Services Limited is primarily involved in the provisions of logistics support for bulk supplies belonging to select Majors and Independent who are clients.

 

“H.A.R petroleum services limited acts in an agency capacity to its clients for the sourcing and delivery of bulk supplies to nominated facilities as instructed by same clients. We undertake all logistics related to ensuring that the Daughter vessel of the client is berthed and discharged to their nominated facility with strict adherence to the requirements of security and regulatory agencies present at the seaport.

 

“We as a company at no time have had cause to purchase Gasoline from NNPC Retail, PPMC or any other source, neither have we at any time approached or received authority to import Gasoline into Nigeria from the Petroleum Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). In like manner, we could not therefore have received forex from CBN for gasoline.

 

“In regards to the documents requested, we are unfortunately unable to provide these, as these documents would be in custody of our clients, who have imported the cargoes you seek clarity. For the transactions specifically mentioned in your letter, these would seem to both be Gasoline imports of Total Nigeria PLC for which we handled the logistics of managing the supply to their facilities,” Haladu said in the letter.

Worried by the failure of the company’s Chief Executive Officer to appear before the adhoc committee, Igbokwe had last week asked the Inspector General of Police and Comptroller General of Nigerian Immigration Service to determine the whereabouts of the official and ensure his appearance on Friday, 7th April 2017.

(Business Day)

 

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