The Managing Director of Capital Oil and Gas, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, has claimed that he was being witch-hunted over an allegation that he stole fuel worth N11 billion from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, stressing that his company did not breech its contract with NNPC.
Testifying before the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), he stated that he was made to suffer detention and dwindling economic fortunes because operatives of the state had “certain personalities” in mind when they closed in on him.
Ubah however declined to name the targeted people even when prodded by the Akinlaja Joseph-led committee during the hearing that had in attendance major stakeholders in the oil and gas industry.
He spoke at the same investigative hearing where a former Managing Director of the NNPC Retail Limited, Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, said she was sacked for reporting the unauthorised diversion of N11 billion worth of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, belonging to the NNPC by Capital Oil and Gas company to security agencies.
Nnamdi-Ogbue likened her retirement as Head of NNPC Retail Ltd in April to scenes from Nollywood movies where security agencies turn around to label the whistle-blower, the suspect in a crime.
She stated that despite spirited efforts by NNPC Retail under her leadership to get the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Department of State Services, DSS, ensure the recovery or payment for the products by the oil company within seven days as stipulated in the Throughput Agreement with Capital Oil and Gas, the response from the EFCC and DSS was not satisfactory.
The sacked NNPC official stated that the only response she got from the EFCC after letters written to its Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, was when operatives from the agency stormed her Abuja residence after she had been compelled to resign by the leadership of NNPC, to conduct a search, after which the officers left with documents relating to NNPC Retail’s agreement with the oil firm.
Ubah, who was recently released after spending weeks in DSS custody, said the “unwarranted and unjustifiable” action cost him huge revenue with no fewer than 2000 of his employees losing their jobs due to the closure of his company.
Expressing disappointment with the NNPC for not exploring available dispute resolution mechanisms prior to his arrest, he reiterated his innocence before the investigative panel, disclosing that the corporation was owing him N16 billion.
The billionaire business mogul said,
“While we called for reconciliation of these issues, NNPC decided to present the issue to the public and other government agencies and in the process, deliberately left important information.
“NNPC, for example, claimed that we owe N11 billion but failed to reveal that they owe us N16 billion with a key portion of the debt spanning over two years.”