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WE DON'T OPERATE JP MORGAN ACCOUNT - NNPC

By NBF News
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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday denied operative right over the United States-based bank, JP Morgan.

However, the Executive Director of Finance, Benard Okechukwu who was summoned yesterday by the Senate joint committee investigating the fuel subsidy fund, said Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was responsible for the management of the account.

This was in spite of the statement by the Chairman of the Joint Committee investigating management of fuel subsidy, Senator Magnus Abe that the Deputy Governor of CBN, Tunde Lemo had informed the Senate that NNPC was operating a secret account with JP Morgan in which proceeds from the sales of crude oil was paid into.

The committee had declared the account illegal and unconstitutional.

Okechukwu maintained his position insisting that the apex bank was managing the account on behalf of NNPC. He said that fund from the JP Morgan account could only be moved by the instruction from the NNPC adding that NNPC, was not the direct signatory to the acclaimed secret account. He said 'NNPC has no relationship with the JP Morgan in this transaction, on monthly basis NNPC gives instruction to CBN to move fund from the dollar domiciliary account into Federation Account with CBN we are not part of the transaction'.

On his part, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Yakubu Ibrahim informed the committee that the account was opened with the Central Bank of Nigeria toward the last quarter of 2002. However, the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, (PPMC) yesterday blamed the high cost of kerosene on Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), and Independent Petroluem Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN)accusing them of selling the product higher than the official price of N50 per litre.

However, MOMAN refuted the claim saying that they sell kerosene at the official price of N50.

Both parties spoke at the public hearing by the Senate joint committee on the mismanagement of fuel subsidy.

According to the Managing Director of PPMC, Haruna Momoh he accused all the marketers of selling at the N100 as against the official price N50. He said this was of in spite of their sell to them at N40.59 kobo.

He said 'out of our depot we give to all these organizations at N40:90 kobo. Unfortunately only NNPC retails sells at 50. Because of that we control and take only to NNPC mega stations.' He said

He also lamented that kerosene meant for household consumption is being diverted for aviation sector, manufacturing sector stressing that there is huge leakages of kerosene in the country.

Underscoring the severity of the situation he further disclosed that 26,000 liters per average of road.

He however noted that PPMC has increased the volume of kerosene supplied in the country from 8million litres last year to 10 million liters as at this year.

In his response, the chairman of MOMAN, who also doubles as the Group Chief Executive of Oando Plc, Wale Tinubu said all members of MOMAN sell at the official price even though they are under supplied.

He said' MOMAN are law abiding we sell at 50. We sell through dealers because the quantity we get is insignificant. When we get we set at the regulated price. For Oando, we get so insignificant so we sell to dealers.'

He further blamed the situation of hike in price and insufficient supply of kerosene on the inability of NNPC to meet demand as well as the none importation of the product by independent marketers.

He also  described the offshore lome ship to ship transfer of refined petroleum products take place as' a convenient place where a lot of fraud takes place'.

He noted that despite claims of shallow waters on our ports, the offshore transfer makes verification of quantity of the imported products difficult.

He however forewarned that long queues on fuel stations are imminent as N400bn is being owed to private importers.

He stressed that until proper verification exercise of petroleum products imported is done, the fuss over the subsidy will be a huge joke.