The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has opposed the suit filed by the Managing Director of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Ifeanyi Ubah, seeking to be released from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
In a preliminary objection filed through its lawyer, K.T. Turak (SAN), and argued on Thursday before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos, the NNPC claimed that Ubah and his company diverted 84,891,730 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) belonging to the NNPC, worth N11, 144,586,314.40.
The NNPC claimed that the alleged fraud was discovered when its books were being checked.
It said Ubah was aware that the NNPC had been under “serious scrutiny, investigation and financial audit of its various accounts and daily productions” since the beginning of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The development, the NNPC said, was aimed at “stopping leakages in revenue and non-remittance of proceeds from the sale of petroleum products.”
The NNPC said contrary to Ubah’s claim, it did not intimidate the businessman, alleging that rather, it was Ubah and his company who circumvented a commercial agreement they had with the NNPC in order to allegedly overreach the NNPC and the Asset Management of Nigeria (AMCON).
It said, “Consequent upon the above development, the 7th respondent (NNPC) carried out stock physicalisation of operators’ storage facilities including those of the applicants (Capital Oil and Ubah).”
The NNPC alleged that despite writing Ubah and his company to return the product or pay the money, they had “deliberately failed refused and/or neglected to do so”.
The NNPC said Ubah was arrested and detained by the DSS pursuant to the security agency’s mandate to stop leakages and recover government revenue.
Also, the DSS, which had been detaining Ubah since May 6, urged Justice Idris to dismiss the businessman’s suit, saying Ubah was being detained on the order of Justice Y. Haliru of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.