By Amechi Ogbonna
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it has recovered N328.9 billion debt owed the Feeral Government after quizzing the managing directors of nine major oil marketers, including Forte Oil, Oando and Total.
The other companies queried by the anti-graft agency are Conoil Plc, OVH Energy Plc, Mobil Plc, MRS Oil Plc, and NIPCO Oil Plc.
Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesman, who disclosed this in a statement, said the recovery was sequel to a petition against the leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiary, the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC).
Uwujaren said the petition alleged that N40 billion was diverted by the major oil marketers in connivance with the leadership of the NNPC and PPMC, following which the anti-graft agency referred the petition to a special task force that conducted discrete investigation into the matter.
“Findings by the operatives of the EFCC revealed that the oil marketers were actually indebted to the Federal Government of Nigeria to the tune of N91,519,485,204.44 between 2010 and 2016,” he explained.
“Further investigation into the allegation also revealed that the oil marketers had continued to obtain petroleum products from the government without proper payment, in violation of the NNPC/PPMC credit facility regulations; a probe of which further led to the discovery of N258,928,926,351.93.
“Following the latter discovery, the total amount of debt stands at N349,818,411,556.37.
The statement added that “Upon the conclusion of the preliminary investigation, officials of NNPC/PPMC and all the managing directors of the concerned companies which are NNPC retails, Conoil Plc, Total Plc, OVH Energy Plc, Oando Plc, Forte Oil and Gas Plc, Mobil Plc, MRS Oil Plc, and NIPCO Oil Plc were invited to the Kano zonal office of the commission where their statements were recorded following which the recovery process commenced.
“So far, a sum of N328,988,296,990.62 has been recovered from the major oil marketers.
“The outstanding debt now stands at N20,765,919,869.48.”