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Revealed! Petroleum Ministry Directors, Contractor in N1.1bn Contract Scam

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800x600 can disclose that there is hullabaloo in the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Abuja, over an alleged N1.1 billion contract scam, involving some undisclosed officials of the ministry.

The sum, according to findings, was the money paid to a contractor for the supply of a dive support sea-going vessel to the Federal Government-owned Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun, near Warri, Delta State but not supplied to the institute after three years.

The deal is alleged to have been struck between the un-named contractor and some high placed persons in the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Abuja, which awarded the contract in 2009.

According to a report issued by the Director, Programme and Performance, Audit Department, Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, A.O. Ajao, the contractor had been directed refund the money 'with interest to the Federal Government of Nigeria immediately.'

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) has issued an order on the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the contractor to appear before it to explain the circumstances surrounding the ill-fated contract deal.

Chairman of the House committee, Hon Ajibola Muraina, while issuing the summons, said the deal had already enticed a demurrage of over N600 million at $2,000 per day, even as indications are rife that the vessel is non-existent.

He added that although the Acting Principal/Chief Executive of PTI, Mrs. Nnenna Dennar, had informed the committee that the dive support sea-going vessel was in the custody of the Nigerian Embassy at Singapore, the facts of its existence are yet to be established.

'To us in the National Assembly, the vessel may not be in existence after all. If you are paying demurrage, it means you have taken delivery, you have not taken ownership.'

The House committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) have also expressed shock at a fresh revelation that another sum of N900 million was needed for the conversion of the vessel to a dive-support ship, an amount said to be equivalent to the original purchase sum.

The minister and the contractor are expected to explain to the committee their terms of the agreement; at what point the PTI was supposed to have taken delivery of the vessel; what happened as well as the agents or consultant between the contractor and government