Oil marketers have refunded N46 billion in a probe of massive fraud in the sector.
It is all part of the ongoing probe of the rot in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) source said yesterday.
The marketers, who are not named because “the investigation is yet to be concluded”, lifted products without paying a dime to the defunct Petroleum Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC now known as the National Petroleum Marketing Company(NPMC).
The anti-graft agency busted the fraud after going through the company’s records.
A top source in EFCC, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, claimed that some of the marketers conspired with some staff of PPMC and NNPC to perpetrate the fraud.
The source said: “When we conducted our investigation, we discovered that the affected marketers sourced products from NNPC through PPMC without paying for them.
“In some instances, these marketers got two or three supplies and paid for one. Through connivance, they cooked the books.
“We discovered that products worth about N100billion were lifted and unpaid for by marketers leading to the invitation and interaction with some of them.
“So far, we have been able to recover N46billion out of the N100billion which the nation had purportedly lost.”
The source expressed concern that the some forces within and outside NNPC and PPMC behind the syndicate almost frustrated the EFCC team probing the “fraud”.
“The cartel wielded enormous influence in the sector and it almost frustrated the investigation and the recovery. As a matter of fact, some forces in NNPC and PPMC did not want us to go this far.
In spite of the liberalisation of the process of obtaining foreign exchange, most marketers still rely on the NNPC for their supplies.
Our correspondent’s was unsuccessful in getting the response of the Managing Director of NPMC( former PPMC), Mr. Farouk Ahmed, to the recovery made by EFCC.
Apart from calls, a text message was sent to Ahmed.
He did not acknowledge the calls and the text message.
The EFCC in April quizzed a former Managing Director of PPMC over some transactions and alleged purchase of houses valued at N1.3 billion off Amazon in Maitama, Asokoro and Wuse districts in Abuja.
The petitioners alleged that the ex-MD acquired the houses in less than six months in office.
An ex-Officio member of the Kaduna chapter of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN), Bako Abdullahi Yelwa, had in February alleged that a cabal had been at work in PPMC.
He said: ”PPMC members of staff are frustrating Independent Marketers. Why will they ask for a percentage of our profit before giving us allocation? And when we refuse, they frustrate the process of getting our allocation. They only give product allocation to marketers that have given them a share of their profit upfront.
“For example, an Independent marketer gets an average of two allocations of Petrol (PMS) monthly and the profit from each truck is 80 thousand Naira. How can 160 thousand naira pay all my staff, service and maintain the stations and still keep me in business?”
UK Government Has Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
The United Kingdom on Wednesday Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
British government on Wednesday became the first country to approve Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, according to the UK government.
The vaccine will be rolled out from next week and the first dose could be administered as early as December 7th, stated people familiar with the matter.
Last week, the UK government announced it had ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 and appointed Nadhim Zahawi, the current junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of the vaccines.
British government on Wednesday morning said, “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use”
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, revealed that the programme would commence early next week.
“It is very good news,” Hancock said.
Zabarmari Massacre: Buhari to Provide More Resources for the Nigerian Military
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to provide more resources to the military in the aftermath of the Zabarmari massacre.
On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 43 people with around 70 people still missing in Zabarmari, a village in Borno State.
Reacting to the massacre, Buhari, through his official Twitter handle @MBuhari said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Everything is secondary when security is at stake. I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.
“As we mourn all the lives lost in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis, until we root out the terrorists.
“We will intensify our cooperation with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels, to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.
“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly. It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria.”
Boko Haram Kills Rice Farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria
Rice farmers were killed on Saturday morning in the Northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants, Boko Haram, according to a Reuters Report.
The report also noted that 30 of the people killed were beheaded while over a dozen others were still missing.
However, resident of the Zambarmari Village where the attacks took place said a total of 70 people were feared dead.
Another resident and Amnesty International were quoted as saying at least 10 women were among those missing.
In another statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, it was armed men on motorcycles that led the brutal attack on civilians harvesting their fields.
“Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields,” Edward Kallon stated.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he added, noting that several women are believed to have been kidnapped.
“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” Kallon said.
On Sunday, Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum of Borno State, who was at the burial told journalists that at least 70 farmers were killed on Saturday.
The Governor, therefore, called on the Federal Government to recruit more Civilian Joint Task Force members, Soldiers and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region.
He added that people are facing desperate choices.
“In one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents,” he said.
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