House Investigates N1.8bn Oil Terminal Contract


By Udora Orizu

The House of Representatives yesterday began the investigation of revenue from sales of crude oil with a view to ensuring accountability and prudence in the management of the country’s financial resources.

The Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Wole Oke, disclosed this during the investigative hearing into the execution of over N1.8 billion oil terminal standardised calibacy and measurement contract.

The lawmaker, while acknowledging various concerns raised by stakeholders in the industry, expressed the resolve of the panel to ensure transparency in the entire process of payments for oil services companies in the country.

He said while it was legitimate for service providers in whatever sector to be paid their fees, using underhand methods of going through the backdoor and unappropriated payments is unacceptable.

Oke said payments made by the federal Ministry of Finance in conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should be above board and in line with financial regulations.

Earlier, Chief Executive Officer of Berge International Services, Mr. Basil Lot, explained that the company executed a standardised calibacy and measurement contract on particular oil terminals to ensure that the correct quantity of crude oil approved is what is taken out.

Lot disclosed that for the highly technical service provided the country between 2015 and 2017, the company received payment of N1, 775, 591, 251, leaving a shortfall of N39 million from the total amount invoiced for the services.

He explained that the payment was made from fees paid by importers of Nigeria’s crude oil into her escrow account without appropriation by the National Assembly.

In his ruling, Oke disclosed that the committee would invite other service providers with a view to ascertaining the extent of transparency in the payment of international contracts, and if the same trend is established, those responsible would be brought to book.