By ADEWALE SANYAOLU
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), has disclosed that none of the marketers indicted in the last subsidy probe made its list for the 3rd quarter fuel import allocations.
Rather,the agency said, all companies on its allocation have been cleared of wrong doing by the relevant security agencies.
Apparently reacting to a report by an online medium;Reuters, that some marketers indicted in the last fuel subsidy probe were among 40 companies cleared for fuel import allocation in the 3rd quarter, PPPRA Executive Secretary, Mr. Reginald Stanley, in a telephone interview with Daily Sun yesterday,said the report by Reuters was “grossly misleading and grossly wrong.”
Stanley insisted that no company indicted in the subsidy fraud as reported by Reuters is included in the latest allocations.
“No company that was indicted in the subsidy claims report can import petroleum products under the new dispensation. In fact, even if we were foolish enough to include any of them, they will get stuck because the Ministry of Finance will not pay them.
The Ministry is resolute in cleaning up the subsidy mess, and has not even finished paying off the genuine claims. So it will be a big risk for any company indicted to go importing fuel, when it has not yet been cleared, and no business man would want to tie down his/her money indefinitely,”he maintained.
Reuters in its report listed Nepal, Fresh Synergy, Ibafon and Techno, as the “four companies that failed to cooperate with parliament’s probe and were named as suppliers which the parliamentary report showed collectively claimed subsidies of nearly $60 million.”
The report further added: “At least three other companies awarded third quarter allocations – Masters, Matrix and MRS – were also ordered to account for their shipments or refund falsely claimed subsidy money in another government report released last June. “Matrix provided documents to Reuters showing it had since been exonerated by Nigerian authorities.
“The other firms declined or did not respond to repeated requests for comment by email and telephone. It was not clear if these companies had since repaid their debts or been cleared.” However, Stanley clarified that all of the companies mentioned by Reuters were cleared in the subsidy report.
“Masters has been cleared by the Special Fraud Unit, SFU; Nepals issue with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is closed out. In fact the company now has a depot at Ogara, the PPPPRA team inspected it, the Deport was dully certified by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, having met all the necessary requirements for depot operations; and MRS was never indicted.
“So, all the companies that have been cleared by the SFU and EFFC that meet the requirements to participate in the Petroleum Subsidy Fund, which include being a registered Nigerian company, ownership of a certified and registered depot and a host of others, are free to participate (in importation),” he said.