Chairman of Capital Oil, Chief Ifenayi Ubah on Thursday disputed claims that he is indebted to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the tune of N11billion, revealing that instead the national oil corporation is owing him N16billion.
He made the disclosure yesterday while testifying in the ongoing public investigation by the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Downstream into the alleged disappearance of 82 million metric liters of petrol belonging to the NNPC that was stored at the Capital Oil tank farm in Lagos.
Ubah informed the committee that the NNPC blew the entire incident out of proportion, adding however that claims and counter claims by both parties are now the subject of litigation and investigation by relevant security and anti-graft agencies.
“The throughput contract which is what we operate with NNPC puts us in a position of a stock manager which is somewhat the vessel akin to an oil bank. This allows for commingling and loading out of products so long as we ensure that all parties having products in our storage ultimately receive their total stock.
“The NNPC in the past has also borrowed products from us to keep their supply and distribution chain running.
“NNPC for example claimed we owe N11billion but failed to reveal that they owe us N16billion with a key portion of the debt spanning over two years,” he declared.
The oil magnate added that his company hadn’t denied that it had in stock products belonging to the NNPC, but accused the national oil company of failing to conduct a reconciliation with the management of Capital Oil before rushing to make the allegation of theft public.
According to him, the contract his firm had with the NNPC didn’t contain any clause for the payment for products in its tank farm in cash in the event the NNPC needs its products but provides for a two week notice for Capital Oil to be informed to replace the volume of products to meet any shortfall.
“We duly paid for product from NNPC and were issued loading permit. However, NNPC diverted the vessel that was supposed to deliver the product and has till date refused to deliver the product, thereby causing a break in the chain of product flow that would have plugged any gap.
“The unprofessional way in which the issue was handed led to a run on our company operations thereby destabilizing our business and causing us to shut down our operations.
“The circumstances have caused us billions of naira in losses ask serious dislocations for our workers,” Ubah said.
Expressing disappointment at the manner the NNPC has cast aspersions on his person and impugn on the integrity of his oil company, the Anambra born businessman stated further that “on so many occasions we have loaned millions of liters of petroleum products from our storage to the NNPC group without alerting or alarming the public.
“We have always kept the confidentiality of our relationship sacrosanct.
“It is in the light of these indisputable circumstances that we were shocked at and disappointed with the actions of the NNPC in throwing the issue to the public and calling in law enforcement agencies without fully exploring the available dispute resolution mechanism available within the purview of our contractual relationship.”
“However, we have submitted these issues to the jurisdiction of the courts and the relevant law enforcement agencies.”
He bemoaned the sacking of the former managing director of NNPC retail over the alleged diversion incident, asserting that the sack was done in bad faith.
Earlier in his testimony, the acting Managing Director NNPC Retail, I.B. Dansule confirmed to the House committee that the total shortfall of petroleum products diverted by Capital Oil was 82million metric litres amounting to N11.144billion out of which the sum of N2billion part payment had been made as at April.
However, he said negotiations were on going as to the actual value of the diverted product and the interest to be paid by Capital Oil.
Also, he revealed that Capital Oil was owing the NNPC another N359million under the Kerosene Direct Scheme.