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By Levinus Nwabughiogu, Abuja

The ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives investigating the state of refineries in the country has queried the process of approval of $49 million by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company, NNPC, Limited for the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries.

The approval was to pay Maire Tecnimont Nigeria Limited, the contractor handling the project, to conduct integrity test on the refineries

The committee had been engaging the NNPC and engineering company handling the contract for the $1.3 billion rehabilitation exercise of the refineries to determine its outcome.

It will be recalled that the ad hoc committee had on June 4, 2022, summoned the Managing Director of Tecnimont Nigeria Limited for explanation on the state of the refineries.

At the resumed hearing yesterday, Chairman of the House Ad hoc Committee, Ganiyu Johnson, demanded the proof of payment by  Maire Tecnimont Nigeria Limited by the NNPC, saying the committee would get to the root of the matter.

“The House probe panel is determined to ascertain the actual cost of rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries,” he said.

Responding to the issue, the Vice President, sub-Sahara Africa, and Managing Director (Nigeria) Tecnimont, Davide Pelizzola, disclosed that the contract was awarded in 2019 at $49million by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to Technimont.

He said the amount was for the first phase of the rehabilitation.

However, further inquiries by the committee revealed that the Port Harcourt refinery currently under construction was being handled by a Japanese firm and not Maire Tecnimont.

Also speaking, the Executive Director, Refining of the NNPC, Philip Chukwu, who represented the NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari, said the first advance payment was 10 percent of the amount, adding that the second would be 5%.

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