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CNPP, Civil Society Coalition Want Probe of NNPC, Minister over Procurement Fraud Allegations, Refinery Staff Recruitments

…Set To Petition EFCC

Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and the Coalition of National Civil Society Organisations Against Inept Leaders have demanded for an open investigation into how two companies owned by virtually same individuals emerged the top two preferred bidders in the slop oil sale by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), calling for probe of how 487 new staff were recruited in moribund refinery that generated no revenue and the payment of N23bn salary in 2020.

The CNPP wondered how Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC), which is managed by one Ahmed Dikko, an engineer, reported zero income in 2020 and yet incurred administrative expenses of N19.215 billion, paid salaries, wages and other benefits to workers to the tune of N22.55 billion as shown in the 2020 audited financial reports of the NNPC.

The organisations in a joint statement signed by the Secretary General of the CNPP, Chief Willy Ezugwu and the Publicity Secretary of the Coalition of National Civil Society Organisations, Alhaji Ali Abacha called for a thorough investigation of the procurement process which threw up the companies in the controversial slop oil sale now found to be owned by the same directors and all others operations of the corporation since 2015.

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Disclosing that they were set to petition the EFCC over what it described as “manipulative management” of the NNPC, the CNPP queried “a controversial bid that saw scarce slop oil, which was traditionally reserved for local industries, being controversially offered to preferred bidders that are export companies in a suspicious deal.”

The CNPP and the coalition of civil society said that “According to media reports, the corporation has begun a process of buying media editors to ensure that their activities are not dissected, especially after the release of its 2020 audited financial statements and declaration of doubtful profits.

“Already, data collated from audited financial statements as released by the NNPC, led by its Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, recently had exposed how Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC), which is managed by one Ahmed Dikko, an engineer, reported zero revenue in 2020 but incurred administrative expenses of N19.215 billion, paying salaries, wages and other benefits to unproductive workers to the tune of N22.55 billion.

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“Worse still, even though it generated zero revenue, Port Harcourt refinery employed 487 new workers and paid N23 billion as salaries in 2020.

“It is becoming more and more obvious that there are fishy deals which led to the budgeting of $1.5 billion to revamp the over 50-year old Port Harcourt refinery.

“We had predicted that the planned resuscitation of the refinery was a mere conduit for siphoning public funds but we are now working to connect the $1.5 billion turnaround maintenance budget and overnight recruitment of 487 new workers with the sudden 2020 profit declared by the NNPC at a time no refinery is generating income in the country.

“We therefore demand for a though investigation into the procurement process at NNPC, the activities of the Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari and that of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timiprye Sylva, over courageous media report of multiple behind-the-scene moves since the slop oil bid winners were announced as contained in a recent media investigation by Premium Times.

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“The bid supervised by the Group Executive Director (GED) Refinery, Mustapha Yakubu has left more questions than answers as the media report added that the first allocation issued to Sign Oil & Gas on June 22, 2021 expired with the company unable to meet a 10 working-day deadline for payment.

“On July 8, 2021, the investigative report noted, the allocation was transferred to the second bid winner, Synthesis Integrated Pure Oil at N105.00k per litre instead of N111.00k per litre, which is seen as part of schemes to achieve a predetermined goal.

“For us, these are signs of manipulative management of the nation’s oil assets and clever moves to siphon public funds through cronies, associates and for members of oil cabals with protections from certain government official who believe that the anti-corruption agencies are in their pockets”, the statement concluded.

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