OrderPaperToday- Oil companies fingered in the importation of adulterated Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) into the country which led to a scarcity of the product have denied perpetrating the act.

Appearing before an investigative hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), on Tuesday, the oil companies heaped blame on Brittania-U as the sole importer of the adulterated product.

The companies also accused Britania-U of going against laid down rules and procedures in the Consortium Agreement entered into. They alleged that secret email exchanges went on between the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, and the company without the knowledge of other companies.

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Importers; Emadeb/Hyde, AY Maikifi all claimed to have formed a consortium with Brittania-U towards facilitating the effective operation of Direct-Sale, Direct-Purchase (DSDP) Scheme of the NNPC.

They, however, informed the legislative panel that Britannia-U alone got the contract to import from the originating port where the methanol-blended fuel was said to have come from.

Addressing the panel on behalf of the consortium which includes Brittania-U, Adebowale Olujimi applauded the NNPC for its foresight in putting together and supporting the consortium to manage the DSDP agreement.

Such encouragement Olujimi said, has led to increase in business know-how, leading indigenous Oil and Gas Companies to truly show capacity by delivering on all the mandates given by NNPC.

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“To ease challenges faced by the good citizens of Nigeria in accessing petroleum products, the Federal Government of Nigeria through her Regulatory body – NNPC awarded DSDP Contract to indigenous Companies to encourage delivery of petroleum product and crude lifting in equal commercial value.

Following the participation of the respective Companies in the 2021/2022 DSDP tender, NNPC formed our Consortium – Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi and Brittania-U with Emadeb as lead on May 7, 2021. The submission of an executed consortium agreement was one of the pre-requisites required by NNPC for the final award of the DSDP contract.

“On June 16, 2021, the Consortium members executed a consortium agreement which defined the rotational responsibilities of members, sequential alternate crude lifting/petroleum product delivery and indemnification of other members against liabilities, claims, etc., that may arise during a member’s underperformance or failure to perform under the DSDP contract.

“The Consortium was awarded the DSDP contract on June 22, 2021 by NNPC. The delivery of the petroleum product and crude lifting has been done strictly on a rotational basis by the respective consortium members,” he said.

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According to documents made available to the Committee and signed by Olujimi, he pointed out that Brittania-U went outside the agreement and initiated secret communications with the NNPC.

It explained that this was done without notifying the NNPC that it wasn’t representing the consortium. Brittania-U got the deal as a result and imported the ill-fated product said to be laden with methanol.

“Some of the Consortium members – Emadeb/Hyde and AY Maikifi immediately engaged a reputable international company for delivery of all PMS cargoes and prompt loading of crude oil; while Brittania-U chose to engage a different entity for her own supplies.

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“Brittania-U also preferred to liaise directly with NNPC and took responsibility for all her transactions without recourse to the other consortium members. All evidence to substantiate Brittania-U’s position are attached for references.

“The PMS alleged to be Methanol-Blended was solely delivered by Brittania-U via MT Torm Hilde in January 2022. The other Consortium members – Emadeb/Hyde and AY Maikifi were not privy to the arrangements for the delivery of the aforementioned PMS and documentary evidence relating to the PMS.

“We hereby state that the said importation of contaminated PMS was executed by a member of the consortium, to wit: Brittania-U.

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In her defense, Uju Ifejika, CEO of Brittania-U, said her company has done no wrong as it only brought in what was specified by the NNPC in the contract.

She added that necessary quality-control tests were carried out at every turn by NNPC, NMDPRA experts alongside those from her company with clearance certificates issued and the products successfully handed over to the NNPC.

“We have a DSDP contract with NNPC and we have done DSDP with NNPC of two and a half years, and we have brought in 10 cargoes. This is our tenth cargo and none of our cargoes was off-spec. And this particular one was not off-spec.

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Before a cargo will come in, there will be a test at the port of loading, which they did at Antwerp. This time, our supplier, Petraco, did their sample at Antwerp and they gave us their sample result which we gave to NNPC, and NNPC confirmed it was okay. 

“The second point of test: the cargo arrived at offshore Lagos. The vessel tendered ‘Notice of Readiness’ of the vessel (that was) arriving. The NoR, we sent it to NNPC officially and they now appointed their inspector and the inspector then appointed his GMO.

They went offshore to test the product. When they finished testing the product, there is a joint certificate given by GMO – that is NNPC-nominated – and our own.

You can’t bring in the cargo without NNPC’s inspector jointly carrying out the initial test. And the test is here. We will present it to you. It met the specification,” she said.

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The NNPC last week appeared before and agreed to take responsibility for its negligence over what took place.

The House Committee chaired by Ahmad Abdullahi Gaya (APC, Kano) in his ruling stated that the panel would bring back the NNPC to shed light on the facts laid bare before it and also go through the documents submitted it.

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