COVID-19: AGIP rejects reps' invitation to $30M fraud probe

By Tordue Salem -Abuja

Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, has refused to appear before the House of Representatives  Committee on Petroleum Resources(Upstream), citing fears of COVID-19.

The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Musa Adar (APC-Sokoto), made the announcement at a hearing in Abuja.

DE COON Services Limited had petitioned the House, accusing Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) of refusing to pay over $30 million and N70m accrued outstanding bills for engineering jobs executed in a contract it won via tender, for the company since 2014, among other infractions the company claimed breached the terms contained in the contract.

The committee had on July 29, 2020, summoned NAOC, NNPC, and Oando, (the other JV partners) to appear on Wednesday, August 12th to explain the discrepancies and their roles in the allegations.

NCDMB (Nigeria Content Development Management Board) who were named in the petition, had honoured the committee’s invitation for Wednesday 12th August, and its officers were present at the hearing.

READ ALSO: Agip discovers 1trn cft of gas, 60m barrels of condensates in Niger Delta

Adar explained that the committee was postponing the hearing “because Agip has refused to attend the hearing, because of the fear of COVID-19”.

He, however, said NAOC had indicated a willingness to appear online and make submissions on the accusations, but he expressed dissatisfaction with that because the lockdown has been lifted, and even the House has been sitting daily since.

Adar also said that following the intervention of NNPC management, Agip has agreed to resolve the matter with De Coon Services Limited via arbitration and the committee would thus postpone the hearing for two weeks to allow the parties ample time to settle amicably.

“However, if the parties fail to reconcile their differences within the time given, the full public hearing will continue as before in this hall, and will be resolved by the committee ”.

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