….As Reps direct IGP to arrest oil marketer over $26m forex fraud
By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbarakwu
ABUJA—Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, have been directed by the House Adhoc Committee on the Review of Petroleum Pump Price to appear on April 7, 2017 over the alleged multi-million dollar forex diverted by some oil marketers between 2016 and 2017.
Also expected to appear before the Ad-hoc Committee are the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-Ete Ekwe and Chief Executive Officers of some commercial banks who were involved in the allocation of the forex to the oil marketers.
This came as the Ad-hoc Committee, yesterday, also directed the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and the Comptroller General of Immigration to immediately determine the whereabouts of one Mr. Andrew Alagu, Managing Director of HAR Petroleum Resources Ltd.
Alagu was declared wanted by the committee for alleged fraudulent sourcing and receipt of foreign exchange to the tune of $26m from the CBN with a view to importing premium motor spirit (PMS) into the country under the DSDP programme of the Federal Government.
Speaking at the investigative hearing, Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Raphael Igbokwe, mandated the IG to arrest Alagu, over alleged diversion of $26m accessed for importation of premium motor spirit (PMS) under the Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) arrangement of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC,
Igbokwe’s order was sequel to the alleged denial by the company via a letter to the committee that the company did not engage in product importation at any time and therefore, couldn’t ‘t have sourced for and accessed forex from the CBN.
HAR representative at the hearing, Jefferson Ogunma, who said his boss, Andrew Alagu was away on official assignment outside the country told the committee that his company only handled logistical activities on behalf of Total Nigeria Plc.
This was, however, disputed by Igbokwe, who said “We have it on good authority that in 2014, your company applied and got over $11m and in 2015, it got another forex over $14m from Zenith bank for the importation of petroleum products into this country, and you now sit here and deny ever engaging in product importation or any of such transaction with the NNPC retail outfits? Where did the $26m you took in forex from the bank according to CBN records go to?”
The committee ordered that the IG and the Comptroller General of Immigration should immediately determine the whereabouts of the company’s MD and have him produced on March 27, unfailingly for questioning.
The National Assembly Sergeant-at-Arm and police attaches were subsequently asked to take the representative’s statement regarding the whereabouts of his boss, his own identity as well as what he knows about the $26m taken by his company according to CBN records.
Also asked to give a full statement to the police and Sergeant at-arms security for their record at the hearing was the Managing Director of Nice Bridge Petroleum limited, Gregory Enahoro, whose company received $9.6m in forex through it’s Keystone and Zenith Bank accounts.
The company as well as CEOs of Keystone and Zenith Banks were also summoned to explain why they jointly gave the sums to the company and as well as evidence of utilization, saying that the forex sourced and received by the company has an imprint of fraud that requires further investigation.
Mr. Enahoro who earlier told the panel that his company carried out logistical activities for Total Plc, added that, Nice Bridge using Total platforms sourced for its products from retail outlets outside Nigeria and therefore, was not in any transaction with the PPPRA which would have facilitated forex for it.
The Committee Chairman, Igbokwe, demanded to see a copy of operating license allowing them to source products outside official channel when they were not a major or independent marketer.
He also demanded to know from the company if it had the procedural approval given to Total by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, was also given to him, he said no.