Walter Wagbatsoma’s company, Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, is in the news again for the bad reasons, busted along with two other firms by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, for product under-deliveries valued at $184million.
Other companies that committed the infraction were AITEO Energy Resource Limited, owned by billionaire Benedict Peters and Taleveras Group of Companies, owned by another young Nigerian billionaire, Igho Sanomi.
The debt was discovered in the course of reconciliation of transactions executed during the defunct crude for product swap regime.
Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, told journalists in Abuja that the exercise is a product of ongoing extensive reconciliation process with the three companies.
Walter Wagbatsoma was recently jailed in absentia by a Lagos High Court for petrol subsidy fraud running into N754million.
Wagbatsona at the time of the sentencing was reportedly under house arrest in London, being investigated by Lincolnshire Police on charges relating to a £12 million National Health Service (NHS) Trust fraud.
The managing director of the company, Ugo-Nnadi’s was however sent to prison for 10 years.
‘’We have engaged them and positively too. So far AITEO has been very cooperative and we had extensive reconciliation across all our chains of businesses where they are involved. In the case of Taleveras, they have agreed to make tranche payment of $10 million while Ontario has also agreed to come to the table with our team and present their repayment schedule,’’ Baru said.
He also said Ontario has already pledged to repay $17m and thanked the company for their cooperation so far.
The GMD said the ongoing recovery process is geared towards ensuring probity and accountability in the operations of the Corporation in line with current reforms in the industry.
Dr. Baru emphasized the determination of the NNPC under his leadership to recover the outstanding stock of its missing petrol in Capital oil depot noting that MRS had complied.
Only last week, the NNPC announced aggressive measures to achieve full recovery of over 130 million litres of petrol stored in the facilities of two indigenous downstream operators, MRS Limited and Capital Oil & Gas Limited, under a throughput arrangement to ensure a robust strategic reserve.
Providing details of the infraction by the companies, Mr. Henry Ikem Obih, NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Downstream explained that the violation was discovered earlier in the year when the Corporation had need to access the over 100 million litres of petrol stored at the Capital Oil & Gas depot for NNPC Retail and just over 30 million litres in MRS Limited depot all in Apapa area of Lagos.
He said though MRS had fully complied by returning the 30 million litres of petrol it expropriated, the Corporation was working assiduously to recover from Capital Oil & Gas the 82 million litres of petrol, valued at N11b, out of over 100 million litres.