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Reps Probe N13bn Debt Owed Nigerian Firm By Agip

The House of Representatives has waded into the alleged N13.07 billion contract debt owned an indigenous oil company, DE COON Services Limited by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NOAC).

The House action followed a petition written to it by the managing director of DE COON, Engr Nelson Onubuogu, where he claimed that there were several contract scams and non-payment of the sums of $30 million (N13 billion) and N70 million owned his company by NOAC.

After presenting his petition, the House Committee on Petroleum Upstream, which is handling the matter, adjourned to August 12, 2020 for continuation of the investigative hearing for NAOC and other parties to appear before it.

Onubuogu, in the petition addressed to the speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said that he was forced to take the step because NAOC had received over 70 per cent of the monies via several cash-calls performed with NAPIMS for the contract but failed to pay its debt to DE COON.

He asserted that NAOC had refused to issue the required purchase orders that would allow his company to submit invoices for payment despite providing the services to NAOC for its oil and gas production.

According to him, an additional $7 million is also owed his company for invoices unpaid within the system.

Onubuogu further alleged that NAOC which owns 20 per cent share in the Joint Venture (JV) operation with the federal government is trying to frustrate and transfer his company’s contracts to its Italian, local contractors and stooges. He accused two officials of NAOC of being used to perpetuate the contractual and financial crimes against his company in collaboration with another senior female staff of Oando.

Onubuogu therefore appealed to the House of Representatives through its Committee on Petroleum Upstream led by Hon. Sarkin Musa Adar to investigate the allegations raised by his company.

He also pleaded with the committee to ask NAOC to pay all outstanding bills due to his company and compensation for the late payment and damages caused to De Coon’s operations by intentional sabotages.

The firm boss equally prayed the House to direct NAOC to allow his company to supply the two new gas generators to enable him submit invoices since NAOC, NAPIMS and Oando participated in the Factory Acceptance Test at the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (CATERPILLAR) facility in the USA and signed the Test Reports.

The managing director further demanded for the immediate implementation by NAOC of the 2018 rate of the CAT, GMC contract as directed by NNPC via NAPIMS.

He said that as at 2018, over $16.5 million stood as debt due DE COON by NAOC, which has risen to over $30 million (over N13 billion).

Onubogu said that the country’s local content law had made it possible for indigenous companies to grow and develop in the oil and gas industries, which must not be allowed to be strangulated. He submitted all the evidences of the debts owed his company and other documents indicating proofs of contract scams and manipulations against his company by NOAC.

The managing director added that one “Mr. Tiani Alessandro of NAOC authorised their legal department to hold several meetings with us to reconcile the bills for payment, but NAOC’s legal department simply informed us that they have the management’s mandate to offer us a settlement payment of $2 million only.”