The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), said it fined one oil marketing company, A.Y. Maikifi, based in Kano, the sum of N1.2 billion for diverting 115 truckloads of the products.
Mr. Mohammed Saidu, Head, Public Affairs Unit, DPR Abuja Zone, disclosed this in Abuja, on Wednesday while addressing newsmen.
He said that about 162 truckloads of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, an equivalent of about nine million litres of the commodity was diverted by unscrupulous oil marketers.
This, he said had helped to worsen the lingering fuel crisis currently ravaging the country.
He said the DPR uncovered these massive diversions of products as a result of the activities of the Special Intelligence Unit (SPU) which it just created to intensify surveillance.
According to him, through the SPU, the DPR received report that some of the diverted products do not appear on the manifest.
He said, “The SPU go about to give us report, in fact they work day and night. About 162 trucks slightly above nine million litres have been discovered to be diverted between January and February.
“These give DPR a lot of concerns and that was why DPR gathered all the controllers across the country to make sure they further strategize and given clear cut directives as to how they should go about uncovering these sharp practices.”
Saidu explained that the products so far diverted were from Kano NNPC depot where A.Y Maikifi diverted 115 trucks between December 2017 and January 2018, at the peak of the crisis.
According to him, those trucks were specifically meant for intervention but never got to any station because the station the marketer 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.
“The concern is that these products were not in the manifest. Were it not for the intelligence unit there is no way DPR would have known such product exist let alone tract,” Saidu said.
He stated that one of the reasons the DPR called for a meeting of all the operations controllers across the country was to enable each of them replicate the intelligence unit in their various zones.
He explained that all the marketers found culpable had been fined N275 per litre of the product diverted, stating that for instance, AYM Maikifi had been fined N1.2 billion.
“He must pay because he could not account for the product. There are smaller marketers that have since commenced payment of their own.
“We have realized 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,” Saidu averred.
Continuing, he said, “What happened was that during this period when NNPC gives its intervention products, DPR is 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.
But our special intelligence unit went as far 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.”