The House of Representatives’ Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) has summoned the management of Capital Oil to explain the disappearance of N11bn worth of petroleum products belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The committee, which is chaired by Mr. Akinlaja Joseph, is investigating the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the products from Capital Oil’s facility.
A public hearing on the incident began in Abuja on Wednesday and was declared open by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.
However, Joseph expressed the frustration of his committee in its attempts to deliver invitation letters to Capital Oil.
He said all efforts made to deliver the letters failed as the committee could not have access to the firm.
As a result, Joseph said the panel had seized the opportunity of the public hearing to summon Capital Oil.
“We could not deliver letters to them, in spite of all the efforts that we made.
“So, we have decided to use this opportunity to call upon the management of Capital Oil to appear here,” he stated.
Joseph announced the decision of the committee in the presence of the representative of the Speaker and Deputy Whip of the House, Mr. Pally Iriase.
Joseph, in his opening remarks, said the public hearing was to address four resolutions of the House.
They were, “Need For A Clear – Cut Policy Framework On Deregulation Of Kerosene To Avert The Current Challenges Faced By The Poor Masses In Acquisition Of Kerosene;” “Need To Arrest The Resurgence Of Kerosene Explosions With Attendant Fatalities;” “Need To Investigate Illegal Transportation Of Petroleum Products And The Attendant Fire Incident At Suleja Depot;” and “Need To Investigate The Disappearance Of Eleven (11) Billion Naira Worth Of Petroleum Products Belonging To The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.”
Joseph reassured persons or organisations affected by the resolutions that the House was not embarking on a witch-hunt, but merely performing its constitutional duties of exposing corruption.
On his part, Dogara had observed that all the issues to be considered by the committee concerned the welfare of Nigerians, which the House had sworn to protect.
On the N11bn petroleum products, Dogara recalled that the NNPC had stored the commodity at the Capital Oil’s farm tanks in Lagos only to later discover that it had been sold.
Dogara added that the matter was of “high national concern, more especially with the present government’s advocacy on anti-corruption.
“This can jeopardise the national economy by possibly reducing government’s revenue…”
However, the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company made a submission to the committee, where it admitted that Capital Oil had so far refunded N2bn out of the N11bn.
The agency said there was an agreement with capital oil that neither of the parties should touch the products without the knowledge of the other.
It added that Capital Oil later breached the agreement by tampering with the products.
Following the discovery, the PPMC informed the committee that the two parties began negotiations on how to reimburse the NNPC.Punch