Indications have emerged suggesting that the Federal Government might have ordered the sack of former managing directors of subsidiaries of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) owing to the perceived fraud that has marred the crude oil swap deal entered into by government.
The deal entails concessions to oil multi-nationals who are allotted crude quota from daily production to the tune of 445,000 barrels per day to refine in overseas facilities and repatriate derivable products such kerosene and premium motor sprit (petrol) and diesel back into the country.
Sources told THE NEW DIPLOMAT that dissatisfied with the deep seated corruption and corrupt practices in the scheme as well as accusations and counter-accusations flying around regarding how the deal has been handled by the affected companies.
Apparently piqued by the sordid revelations emanating from the series of discrete probes both criminal and administrative that had been instituted to unearth the happenings in the deal with respect to the roles played by the affected companies, the Federal Government had to wield the big stick.
That came in a statement issued by the spokesman for the NNPC, Mr. Ohi Alegbe who announced the sack of the managing directors of the subsidiary units in the corporation last Tuesday however failed to state the reasons for the decision.
Those in the know however believe that the action might be due to the decision of the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to clean up the corruption laden organisation.
According to Alegbe, those affected in the gale of tsunami hitting the sector include Haruna Momoh of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Anthony U. Muoneke, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and Group General Manager, of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) Engr. Jonathan Kwame Okehs, among other MDs.
Though the oil swap arrangement commenced in the early 1980s as measure to bridge the gap that existed in the supply and demand chain when it became apparent that the existing refining capacity of the country could not cope with demand of Nigerians for petroleum products.
The scandal began in 2009 when the NNPC through the Pipelines Products Marketing Company (PPMC) advertised proposals for Offshore Processing Arrangement and other proposals to guarantee fuel supply.
It was learnt that a $2billion debt on importation of petroleum products made NNPC to embrace this option, which has been grossly abused by foreign players in collaboration with officials of the affected companies.
When ceaseless agitations and calls for probe rented the media, a visibly frightened former minister for petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke had caused a letter to be written the anti-graft agency, the EFCC.
The decision to write her boss, former President Goodluck Jonathan to institute a probe into the arrangement might be due in part to the loss of Jonathan to the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari at the last presidential poll.
Dated May 18, the letter reads in part, “In view of the negativities and various issues raised in the media on the oil swaps/OPAs, I had written to EFCC, with the former president’s approval about four weeks ago, to look into the swap/OPAs in order to clarify the actual situation.