‘CBN’s records show $270 million forex irregularities’
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on the Review of Pump Price of Petroleum, said it has discovered discrepancies in the records of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), indicating that $270 million worth of foreign exchange (forex) has remained unaccounted for.
The latest discovery is among several others uncovered in the recent past, showing irregularities in forex handling and diversion of petroleum products by operators in the oil industry.
At an investigative hearing last week, where some oil lifting and distributing companies appeared, the Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Hon. Nnana Igbokwe, blamed the companies for their unclear activities, which he said have contributed to the recent hike in the litre price of fuel.
Igbokwe said based on the documents of the CBN, huge sums of Forex collected by oil traders for the purpose of purchasing petroleum products, had been diverted for other use and called on the federal government to be committed to its regulatory functions.
The committee further placed on enquiry 25metric tonnes of petroleum products under the custody of Folawiyo Energy Ltd., which he said was discharged in June 2016, at MT High Efficiency, by the Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), but could not be traced up till now.
But the representative of Ascon Oil Ltd., Oladikpo Makujola, denied owing PPMC any stock, and also refused to take responsibility for any missing product, because according to him, “we only follow what they instruct us to do.”
“For the record, my company has never owed PPMC in finance or stock, it will be uncharitable for them to claim we owe them. They are responsible for evacuation of their stock, we only do the physical inspection,” Makujola clarified.
However, the chairman countered the claim made by Makujola, insisting they must take responsibility. “You cannot say you don’t have control over evacuation of stock because if products are missing we would ask you,” Igbokwe explained.The committee has fixed May 15th for further hearings.