August 2, 2020

Reps summon NNPC, 3 others over alleged N13B debt, contracts scam

Igbo group rejects Deputy Speaker zoning to South-East

By Tordue Salem – Abuja

The House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Upstream has invited the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Mele Kyari, heads of Nigeria Agip Oil Company and OANDO over allegations of N13billion owed to Decoon Engineering Company and allegations of involvement in contracts’ fraud.

The companies are supposed to appear before the Committee at the National Assembly, on August 12.

An engineering company operating in the Oil and Gas sector under the aegis of DE COON Services Limited had written a petition to the House of Representatives over several contracts scams and non-payment of the sums of over $30m and N70M owed it by Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC.

The petition states that “This is irrespective of the fact that NAOC has received over 70% of these monies via several cash-calls performed with NAPIMS for this contract but failed to pay the received monies to De Coon Services Limited”.

The Managing Director of the firm, Engr. Nelson Onubogu in the petition addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, said “the amounts represent only the debt NAOC has refused to issue the required Purchase Orders that would allow the company submit invoices for payment despite the services having been already provided to NAOC for NAOC’s Oil and Gas production. Additional $7m is also owed the company for invoices unpaid within the system”.

He alleged that “NAOC who owns 20 per cent share in the Joint Venture (JV) operation with the Federal Government is trying to frustrate and transfer his company’s contracts to it’s Italian, local Contractors and stooges. The Federal Government (NNPC) owns 60% while OANDO owns the balance of 20%”.

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He accused Mr Ikechukwu Iyeh and Lawrence Osakwe, both staff of NAOC, of being used to perpetuate the contractual and financial crimes against his company in cahoots with one Ms. Obiageli Okeke of OANDO.

He, therefore, appealed to the House of Representatives through its Committee on Petroleum Upstream led by Hon. Sarkin Musa Adar to carry out a thorough investigation into the allegations raised by his company.

The MD also asked the House Committee, to ask NAOC to pay all outstanding bills due to his company plus compensation for late payment and damages caused to his company’s operations by intentional sabotages of their operation.

He also prayed the House of Representatives “to direct NAOC to allow his company to supply the two new gas generators to enable them to submit her invoices since NAOC, NAPIMS and OANDO participated in the Factory Acceptance Test at the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (CATERPILLAR) facility in the USA and signed the Test Reports. The Managing Director also demanded for the immediate implementation by NAOC of the 2018 rate of the CAT, GMC contract as directed by NNPC via NAPIMS”.

The petitioner claimed that “at 2018, over $16.5 million dollars stood as debt due DE COON Services Ltd by NAOC, but this has now grown to over $30m (over N13b)”.

According to Engr. Onubogu, the “Nigeria local content law has made it possible for local Nigerian companies to grow and develop in the oil and gas industries, to this effort must not be allowed to be strangulated”.

The company also submitted evidence of the debts owed his company and other documents alleging arbitrary awards of contracts and manipulations against his company by NAOC.

The Managing Director of De Coon, also alleged that “Mr. Tiani Alessandro of NAOC authorised their legal department to hold several meetings with us to reconcile the bills for payment, but NAOC’s legal department simply informed us that they have the management’s mandate to offer us a settlement payment of $2 million only.

“Irrespective of this huge debt to De Coon, Mr. Tiani Alessandro of NAOC directed his men to block the award of the maintenance contract for the Compressors won by De Coon via a Nipex tender since early 2019 till now, ensure that De Coon is not allowed to progress to commercial-stage of any Nipex tender. For this De Coon was blocked from the list of companies bidding at the commercial stage for the ESP tender”.

He told the House that his company was replaced “with NAOC’s stooges in all their existing contracts by conducting quick tenders on those jobs while excluding De Coon from participating in the tenders. This is irrespective of the fact that is the incumbent contractor on those jobs.

After presenting his petition, the Committee’s Chairman, Rep. Musa Sarkin Adar(Sokoto-APC), summoned NNPC and others to appear before it, on f August 12, 2020, for a continuation of the investigative hearing on the matter.

Vanguard News Nigeria