- Realises N12m from fines levied on erring marketers
Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Between December 2017 and February 2018, about 162 trucks containing eight million litres of petrol supplied by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as intervention products were diverted away from their original destination service stations across Nigeria, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Wednesday disclosed.
The DPR stated shortly after all its controllers met with its Director, Mr. Mordecai Ladan, in Abuja on the current petrol scarcity experienced in cities across the country, that its Special Intelligence Unit (SPU) created to monitor the situation made this discovery.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, DPRâ€™s Public Relations Officer for its Abuja office, Mr. Mohammed Saidu, stated that the SPU discovered that most of the volumes of petrol were diverted from the Kano Depot of the NNPC.
According to him, one petroleum products marketer – A.Y Maikifi, alone diverted 115 trucks between December 2017 and January 2018.
He explained that the marketer has been fined N1.2 billion for such infraction, while the DPR has realised about N12 million from the gradual payments of its fine to other culpable marketers.
â€œThe DPR has uncovered massive diversion of products. These were as a result of Special Intelligence Unit that we just created to intensify surveillance. This SPU goes about to give us report, in fact they work day and night. We received report that largely some of the diverted products do not appear on the manifest.
â€œAbout 162 trucks slightly above 9 million litres have been discovered to be diverted between January and February,â€ said Saidu.
He further explained: â€œThese give DPR a lot of concerns and that was why DPR gathered all the controllers across the country to make sure they further strategise and give clear cut directives as to how they should go about uncovering these sharp practices.
â€œThe products so far diverted were from Kano NNPC depot where one marketer, A.Y Maikifi diverted 115 trucks between December 2017 and January 2018 and you could see that it was the peak of the crisis.
â€œThose trucks were specifically meant for intervention but those trucks never got to any station because the station he claimed to be taking the truck was a non-existing station. Our intelligence unit visited there and discovered that the land was not even cleared let alone a filling station existing there,â€ he added.
Saidu noted that: â€œOne of the reason DPR called for a meeting of all the operations controllers across the country was to make sure each of them will replicate this intelligence unit and that will go a long way in helping the DPR.
â€œThe concern is that these products were not in the manifest. Were it not for the intelligence unit, there was no way DPR would have known such product existed let alone track.â€
On what will happen to the marketers found culpable, Saidu said: â€œAll the marketers that have been found culpable have been fined N275 per litre (of product diverted). For instance, AYM Maikiffi has been fined N1.2 billion and he must pay because he could not account for the product.
â€œThere are smaller marketers that have since commenced payment of their own. We have realised over N12 million from marketers who have come forward to accept they have diverted and are willing to pay the fine. Some have paid up to 50 per cent while some are still pleading but until they finished payment DPR will not lift the fine.â€
Asked why the DPR just got wind of the diversions which happened in December and January, as well as in February, Saidu said: â€œWhat happened was that during this period when NNPC gave its intervention products DPR was not involved. Intervention products are products that are given to marketers to take to certain locations to beef up supply but we were surprised that these products were taken to difficult location where they think DPR cannot locate.
â€œBut our special intelligence unit went as far to those areas to discover that the products meant for intervention did not only go there but the filling stations never existed. They saw a flat land that was not cleared.â€