Forfeited N2.4bn: Ex-PPMC Boss, Wife Say ICPC Misled Judge

 

A former Managing Director of the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), Haruna Momoh and his wife Eileen, have said a court was misled into temporarily forfeiting their N2, 417, 037, 404 billion.

It was reported on Monday that a Federal High Court in Abuja had ordered the interim forfeiture of the sum, following an ex-parte application by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

The Commission said it had initiated moves to recover the N2.4b permanently, alongside some landed properties linked to Momoh.

But reacting to the ruling through a statement by their counsel, Mr Ade Adedeji (SAN) on Tuesday, the Momohs claimed that the ICPC obtained the order by suppressing facts.

They alleged that the Commission deliberately failed to inform the judge that two other Federal High Courts, in 2017 and July 2019, had ruled that the source of the funds was not illicit.

She said the ICPC had appealed the July judgment, but rather than prosecuting its appeal, it surreptitiously approached another court and misled the judge into forfeiting the funds.

The statement reads: “We have read the publications in the newspapers on Tuesday and we confirm that the order obtained by ICPC, which we have since confirmed through a search of the records of court, is a calculated scheme by ICPC to pervert justice.

“Indeed, we can confirm that on 4th July, 2019, Blaid Group and Mrs. Momoh obtained judgment at the Federal High Court, which judgment permanently settled issues between parties in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/132/2019.

“As it is also the right of parties, ICPC had appealed the judgment through filing of Notice of Appeal, etc. But rather than prosecute their appeal, they surreptitiously approached the FCT High Court and misled the court as if the appeal never existed.

“Without disclosing to the new court that there was judgment of the Federal High Court against them, they moved the court ex-parte to grant an order of temporary forfeiture.

“The act of ICPC, which has become a pattern to score cheap publicity and enhance their deliberate scheme of boosting their image as hard-working and crime busters where there is none, is a shame, a travesty of justice, a gross abuse of process of court and of power granted them under their enabling law which never anticipated it would be used for self-aggrandizement.”

The statement noted that in 2017, the ICPC “approached the FCT High Court, obtained a similar order, went to the press to run down the clients and their businesses.”

However, it said that in the ruling vacating/setting aside the order, the court in Suit No. FCT/HC/M/5388/17 “castigated ICPC for obtaining order fraudulently.”

“We have identified counsel that are often engaged to commit these atrocities and on clients’ instructions are considering the relevant provisions of Legal Practitioners’ Act as it relates to discipline of counsel in such circumstances.”

It said the couple is taking “immediate steps” to vacate the order as well as filing petitions against “Counsel involved in misrepresenting facts to court to obtain ex-parte order which ordinarily would not have been granted.”

NNPC Receives Seven Cargoes Of Petrol To Ease Fuel Scarcity

fuel scarcityThe long fuel scarcity may soon abate going by plans announced by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to embark on massive importation of products which should guarantee availability of petrol across the country.

This is aimed at ensuring the lingering scarcity ends this week as promised by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu.

Speaking to journalist in Lagos on Tuesday, the Executive Director, Supply and Distribution, Pipeline Products and Marketing Company, Mr Justin Ezeala, said that normalcy should return following increased efforts in areas of monitoring, enforcement and product supply.

“I am happy to announce that as at today we have received seven cargoes of PMS. We are apparently ahead of schedule in terms of our importation and what we do is that as these cargoes come in we send to Port Harcourt, Warri, Calabar.

“Of course most of it is kept in Lagos to distribute to major cities,” he said.

He also said that distribution pipelines which had been down had resumed operation and subsequently a cargo of product would be arriving the country every day.

He added that the NNPC would not sell product to any marketer above the official price and the DPR had been mandated to intensity monitoring to ensure that consumers are not ripped off by marketers.

“If a marketer does that (sell above official price) the marketer is not only taking us for a ride but also taking the whole country for a ride. So, name and shame them and we will be willing to take action,” he concluded.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, had to shelve his scheduled interaction with the media to attend a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.

The Nigerian President has reportedly summoned Kachikwu for a brief on the supply of products across the country in a bid to address the lingering fuel scarcity.

Nigerians are hoping that the new efforts yield result as they continue to grapple with fuel scarcity across the country.

There are still long queues, high prices, and black marketers are taking advantage of the situation.

Fuel Scarcity Spreads to Kaduna, Other States

fuel scarcityThe ease of getting petrol by motorists and other residents in Kaduna has become more difficult as long queues resurfaced in the state capital and other parts of the state.

Channels TV correspondent who monitored the situation within the state capital, reported that long queues have taken over the few filling stations in the city, selling the petrol as motorists besiege the outlets to get the product for their respective uses.

Motorists and commercial tricycle operators were seen struggling to get into the station as only two out of the ten pumps were dispensing product to customers.

As at the time of filing this report, black marketers have resurfaced along major roads and streets, selling petrol above the official pump price. A gallon of petrol sold at N120 per litre as against the N86 per litre.

Residents expressed fears that the situation could worsen and affect socio-economic activities if nothing is done by government to address the situation.

Virtually all filling stations in the state capital have not been dispensing the product since the start of last week due to the drop in supply to the state.

Abeokuta, Ogun State

In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the situation remains the same for a week running.

Over 80% of fuel stations in the state capital still remain without fuel, a development which has left people stranded at filling stations most times for a product that is non existent

Some residents who thronged fuel stations in the metropolis as early as possible have resulted into finding comfort in their vehicles to take some nap while waiting for a time when the product would be made available

As a result of the short supply of the product, there are reports of the product being sold illegally above the official pump price.

PPMC Says Fuel Will Soon Be Available

fuelThe Pipelines and Products Marketing Company has asked the Nigerian populace to calm down as petroleum products will be available in the fuel stations soon.

The MD of PPMC, Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue said that about four vessels containing 30,000 tonnes of PMS arrived in the country on Sunday and the agency is doing all it can to ensure that the product is distributed efficiently.

Queues returned to the fuel stations in the last week and many motorists have been complaining about the seeming worsening situation in fuel supply.

Abia DPR Urges Marketers To Sell Fuel At Government Approved Price

DPRThe Department of Petroleum Regulation has issued an ultimatum to Independent Marketers in Aba to comply with the government’s directives of selling petrol at 86 Naira 50 Kobo or face the consequences.

While on monitoring to some petrol stations in Umuahia, Abia State capital on Wednesday, the Operation Controller in Aba, Mr Paschal Ezemmadu, hinted that the inability of the marketers to provide the officials with evidence of payment, which would enable them to trace inconsistency in the price at point of purchase, would no longer be condoled.

He was on the monitoring exercise with a team of the Department of State Security (DSS) and Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC).

According to Mr Ezemmadu, their job is to regulate prices and ensure compliance. He warned that any marketer that defaults, would be sanctioned and their pump price adjusted.

The DPR has provided the necessary avenue that includes filling coupons that would enable them trace those selling the PMS at the private depot above government price.

Meanwhile, some petrol stations had been sealed for selling above government approved pump price.

House Of Reps Begins Investigation Of NNPC’s Oil Swap Agreement

House-of-Representatives-NigeriaThe House of Representatives has started investigating the oil swap agreement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Giving its presentation on Tuesday, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), represented by the Executive Secretary, NEITI, Ogbonnaya Oji,  told the ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives on Oil Swap Contracts, that “the Federal Government is estimated to have lost over 1.1 billion dollars in 2012 to crude oil offshore processing and swap arrangements”.

The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr Tunde Fowler, also informed the committee that the Federal Government had lost over 1.1 billion Naira revenue to the crude oil arrangement.

It was the opening day of the two-day investigative hearing into the crude oil swap deal of the NNPC.

Welcoming participants to the hearing, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, said the country’s economy called for a change.

Before the hearing began, the Chairman of the ad-hoc Committee on Oil Swap Contracts, Zakari Mohammed, outlined some of the issues for consideration.

The Assistant Comptroller General, Tariff and Trade, Sule Alu, also appeared before the committee.

The hearing held for over five hours, as the lawmakers and the agencies discuss the figures and other information provided.

The hearing is expected to continue on Wednesday when the NNPC, the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company and oil companies involved in the arrangement will appear before the committee.

PPMC To Prosecute Pipeline Vandals, Commence Truck Tracking

PPMC on Pipeline VandalsThe Managing Director of the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Mrs Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, has warned that any oil pipeline vandal caught, will be prosecuted with their assets destroyed to serve as deterrence.

Mrs Nnamdi-Ogbue, who spoke to reporters when some pipeline vandals were apprehended on Christmas day, said that the pipelines are the only effective way to distribute petroleum products nationwide and must be allowed to function.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, said that Nigeria cannot give in to the point where vandals and saboteurs become more powerful than the government.

“Oil pipelines in Nigeria serve two purposes: to distribute crude oil to the country’s three refineries for processing and to distribute refined petroleum products across the country for easy supply to consumers.

“Frequent pipeline vandalism has made these two functions ineffective for several years,” he said.

Tracking Petrol Distribution Trucks

Mr Kachikwu said that sabotage cannot be totally foreclosed given the technological know-how required to break the pipe and siphon oil.

“The target of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and PPMC is to repair the pipelines routes from Lagos to Port-Harcourt.

“This will make it possible to pump fuel all the way through Lagos-Ibadan and Ilorin to relieve the coastal cities and bridge the north and from Port-Harcourt through Makurdi and up to Yola”, he said.

While these are on, the PPMC boss said that real time tracking of petrol distribution trucks will commence fully by January 2016 which will totally eliminate diversion of petroleum products and the resultant scarcity of petrol.

DPR Dispenses Free Petrol In Abuja

DPR Dispenses Free FuelOfficials of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) and operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), have distributed free fuel to motorists in the nations capital, Abuja, as punishment for hoarding petroleum products.



The monitoring team visited service stations around the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to ensure compliance with the official pump price of 87 Naira and to ensure marketers do not hoard the product.

Officials on Wednesday, said that the exercise was part of efforts to reduce the lingering fuel queues that had slowed down economic activities in the past weeks.

Since the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, ordered free distribution of petrol to motorists in any petrol station found to be hoarding petroleum products, some service stations have been penalised in Abuja.

A service station in Kubua, a satellite town in Abuja was caught in the act and the agencies dispensed petrol to motorists free of charge.

Apart from selling above the official pump price of 87 Naira, on Tuesday, government monitoring team also accused its management of hoarding the product.

Although, the officials said that they were instructed not to speak to reporters, eyewitnesses, who purchased fuel from the station, said it sold above pump price before it started hoarding the product.

Meanwhile, officials of the DPR said that such disciplinary measures would continue.

Queues have remained at different service stations in different states, despite several promises from the government to end the scarcity.

On Wednesday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said the refinery in Kaduna had started a daily supply of 3.2 million litres of petrol, a volume it hopes will ease the current crisis of petrol scarcity.

Kaduna Refinery Begins 3.2mln Litres Daily Supply Of Petrol

Kaduna-Refinery-plant producing petrolThe Kaduna Refining and Petroleum Company has started daily production of 3.2 million litres of petrol, a vloume authorities hope will end queues at fuel service stations across Nigeria.

A statement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) confirmed that the plant, which commenced production over the weekend with an initial Premium Motor Spirit yield of about 1.5 million litres, has ramped up its daily yield to 3.2 million litres.

“The injection of this volume into the system will significantly impact ongoing special intervention efforts designed to bring relief to motorists across the country,” the Corporation stated.

‘Economic Saboteurs’

The NNPC also said that less than 48 hours after the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, ordered staff of the NNPC to intervene in the monitoring of fuel distribution and retail system at service stations across Nigeria, the initiative has started yielding positive results in Abuja and environs.

Dr. Kachikwu had assured Nigerians that there was sufficient petrol and again appealed to motorists to desist from panic purchases.

He also warned that unscrupulous marketers, who either hoard or divert products, would henceforth be treated as economic saboteurs.

Shortly after visiting some retail outlets within Abuja’s Central Area, the Group Executive Director, Commercial and Investment of the NNPC, Dr. Babatunde Victor Adeniran, told reporters that so far, the exercise had recorded some success.

“Our staff are putting in all their best to ensure that orderliness is restored in most of the filling stations. They are also there to ensure that nobody creates a situation that will hamper the discharge of products to ordinary Nigerians. So far, they are doing well in this regard,”Dr. Adeniran stated.

“Spirit Of Orderliness”

He explained that the exercise was a hands-on approach designed to ensure that Nigerians do not suffer unnecessarily at the hands of unscrupulous marketers.

“The situation would be improved upon,” he said, urging security agencies to further complement the efforts of NNPC at service stations.

“At one of the filling stations in Asokoro today, the police came to assist us to clear out some motorists trying to jump the queue. That is most commendable,” he said.

Dr. Adeniran further urged Nigerians to cooperate with the NNPC and ensure the success of the initiative by being law-abiding and orderly to avoid chaotic situations at the service stations.

“I hope Nigerians can have the spirit of orderliness, the spirit of cohesion and the spirit of responsibility in order to help this process,” he observed.

It is two days to Christmas and queues are still seen at different service stations in some Nigerian States.

The Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) had on Monday assured Nigerians that petrol queues across the nation would have ceased before Christmas.

The Managing Director of the PPMC, Esther Nnamdi-Ogbe, gave the assurance while listing efforts the company had made to ensure that the scarcity of petrol would end in the next few days.

Kaduna Transporters Hike Fares As Petrol Scarcity Bites Harder

KadunaThree days to the Christmas celebration, people travelling to various parts of the country from Kaduna and environs for the festivity are groaning with the increasing scarcity of petrol.

This is due the increase of transport fare by commercial drivers who ironically are also complaining of shortage of passengers as a result of the fuel scarcity and increase in fares.

They have called on the Federal government to urgently address the problem in order to reduce their sufferings.

Most filling stations across the state capital have been locked up due to the scarcity of petrol, while those that opened for business sold the product at over 80% of the normal price.

While black marketers of petrol sell a four litre gallon of petrol as high as 1,000 naira, most of the filling stations sell a litre of the product for 200 naira to struggling and impatient motorists and those buying in jerry cans.

The petrol profiteers ruled as long as men of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) were away, but when they storm the stations, they force the managers to revert to the approved pump price or in some cases seal them up.

Transport fare from Kaduna to Akwa-Ibom State and some parts of the south east that used to cost about 6,000 naira has risen to 8,000 naira. Commuters have said that the price is likely to rise if nothing is done by the relevant authorities to address the fuel scarcity.

With no end in sight to the scarcity, many families planning to travel to their villages for the Christmas celebration may have to either suspend their trip or pay through their nose due to the hike in transport fare.

With the cheering news that the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company has resumed production after it was closed  for repairs some months ago, many Nigerians are appealing to the relevant authorities to address all knotty issues that have brought this unending nightmare to the nation.

Kachikwu Orders Special Fuel Supply For Christmas

KachikwuThe Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, who is spending time with his constituency in Delta State, has given assurances that from 2016, the country’s oil sector will experience a turn around that will allow the refineries work effectively and then petroleum products will be available to Nigerians at affordable prices.

He said that as a technocrat he would give his best with the opportunity given to him to serve as the Minister of State for Petroleum.

On the current petroleum scarcity, the Minister attributed the situation to panic buying and hoarding, warning all those concerned to demonstrate patriotism.

Meanwhile, Dr Kachikwu has ordered what he called a special petrol supply intervention to ensure a hitch free Christmas and New Year celebration.

This order was given to the Pipeline Products Marketing Company (PPMC) for them to embark on special supply intervention measures to ensure country-wide availability of product ahead of the yuletide and beyond.

The NNPC says that daily fuel trucks which leaves depots to Abuja, Kaduna, Enugu, Kano, Ibadan and Jos has increased significantly.