The Maikanti Baru led Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has reportedly launched an extensive operation to investigate massive alleged fraud over improper allocations of Naphtha and Fuel Oil running into billions of dollars, National Daily has gathered.
Dr. Maikanti Baru, it was gathered has halted with immediate effect the free allocation of the products to the PPMC or any individual and directed a cleanup in PPMC pending the outcome of the investigation.
While investigations continue, NNPC has directed the products to be allocated solely to its marketing subsidiary Duke Oil, at prevailing international market prices to be regularly decided by a team of NNPC oil marketers, for purposes of accountability and transparency.
National Daily also gathered that the investigation is expected to focus on the activities of former GMD’s of the corporation, including Dr. Joseph Dawha; Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, past managing directors (MDs) of PPMC, Mr. Haruna Momoh; Mrs Esther Ogbue-Nnamdi, current MD of NNPC Retail Limited, as well as the present PPMC boss, Mr. Farouk Ahmed.
Investigators are examining their actions to ascertain their involvement in the fraudulent allocations of the money spinning products while they presided over the NNPC and PPMC respectively, according to highly placed officials who discussed the confidential probe proceedings on the condition of anonymity.
Contrary to earlier reports in the media the arrest and detention of Ogbue-Nnamdi, in 2016, by the EFCC was connected to the illegal allocation of the products, which she was alleged to have allocated to an unauthorised company without the approval of Mr. Kachikwu, who was then the GMD.
Those familiar with the probe said the scope of the fraud is comparable to the billions of dollars of kickbacks and theft of government funds discovered at the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and Crude Oil Marketing Department during the crude oil swap deals.
Officials used a web of Shell companies, fictitious charges and kickback schemes to defraud the government.
It was gathered that Taleveras, owned by Igho Sanomi; Aiteo, owned by Mr. Ben Peters and Ontario, owned by the embattled Walter Wagbatsoma, all allies of former minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, intentionally falsified and inflated transactions in a monumental scheme used to reap Nigeria of its resources.
The sweeping operation is the latest in a string of anti-graft investigations aimed at cleaning up the corporation, which have roiled Nigeria’s economy for decades and a principal catalyst in its political crisis.
The primary uses for naphtha and gas oil are the production of fuels, gasoline for naphtha, and diesel for gas oil. A secondary use for naphtha is as a feedstock for steam cracking to produce petrochemicals (ethylene, propylene) and the production of aromatic petrochemical products (benzene, toluene, and xylenes). Gas oil is used as a chemical feedstock for steam cracking, although generally less preferred than naphtha and natural gas liquids (NGLs, including liquefied petroleum gases).