…Declines to give details
THE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has refuted an investigation indicting the corporation of procurement fraud in slop oil sale, where two highest bidders at the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) were said to be one and the same.
But the group did not give details of the transactions, making it impossible for independent verification and confirmation.
Following the Premium Times‘ corruption report, the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG) had invited NNPC to its anti-corruption radio programme entitled, ‘Public Conscience on RADIO’ on September 14, 2021, to clarify the fraud cases raised in the investigation, which they failed to honor.
The NNPC described the investigation as inaccurate, misleading and taken on the wrong assumption in a letter addressed to the Executive Director of PRIMORG Okhiria Agbonsuremi by the Corporation’s Group General Manager Garba Deen Muhammad.
The NNPC added that it had made clarifications following the accusation, and emphasised that it did not wish to further discuss the subject, ruling out any more explanation to the general public in a radio discussion.
There were, however, no available details anywhere, including its website, where the NNPC published the clarification it claimed to have made following the reports.
It will be recalled that Nigerians had called on President Muhammadu Buhari to swiftly investigate and bring to book perpetrators of procurement fraud in slop oil sales at NNPC during PRIMORG’s radio programme held on September 29, 2021.
Another report by Premium Times said the presidency summoned the Corporation’s Group Managing Director (GMD) Mele Kyari to the Presidential Villa over the procurement irregularities and corruption of due process about three weeks ago.
However, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) are said to be most affected by the procurement fraud at PHRC– particularly those in labour-intensive industries such as textiles, cement, fractional distillation industries, rubber processing, food and beverages.
Excerpts of NNPC’s letter to PRIMORG read:
“RE: INVITATION TO RADIO DISCUSSION
We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 14th September 2021 requesting for an interview on your radio program by NNPC to throw more light on the alleged report published by Premium Times titled: “NNPC in Procurement Fraud: Two highest bidders in Slop Oil sale are same people”.
NNPC appreciates your interest in the Corporation and the need for clarity on the subject matter, but kindly note that the accusations are inaccurate, taken on wrong assumptions and unfounded with misleading information. However, NNPC has taken a position on this matter as the statement is false. The Corporation has already made its clarification on this false allegation and does not wish to discuss the matter beyond this point.
However, we are happy to engage you on any other topic of interest or trending industry issues. Please accept our best wishes and we look forward to possible collaborations in the future.
Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration and respect.
Garba Deen Muhammad, Group General Manager Group Public Affairs Division.”
PRIMORG said it continued to urge the government and the anti-corruption agencies to investigate the alleged procurement fraud in NNPC with a view to punishing offenders.