Obat denies alleged N1.2b subsidy diversion
Gbenga KOSOKO with Agency report
LAGOS-OBAT Oil and Petroleum Limited has said the allegation of N1.2 billion oil proceed diversion against it by Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited is legally unfounded, factually incredulous and completely illogical.
In a rejoinder, the Head of Legal Unit of Obat Oil, Seun Bakare, said the oil firm never diverted N1.2 billion, as claimed by Petrocam.
The spokesman said Obat was invited by the anti-corruption agency, following a petition Petrocam’s Managing Director, Mr. Patrick Ilo, allegedly wrote to the commission through its solicitors.
The Nation reported last Friday that Obat’s tank farm was shut down by EFCC, following an allaged diversion of N1.2 billion subsidy money borrowed on its behalf by Petrocam from Sterling bank.
Obat said: “Our attention has been drawn to a series of viral newspaper publications on alleged N1.2 billion subsidy diversion claimed by the Managing Director of Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited, Mr.Patrick Ilo, against us, Obat Oil and Petroleum Limited. We hereby state categorically that there was not time Obat Oil diverted any N1.2 billion, as claimed by Petrocam. It is pertinent to state clearly at this point that there was never a time that our tank farm was shut down, as we are fully in operation. We were only invited by the EFCC based on petition Mr. Ilo wrote to the commission through his solicitors.”
On the firm’s involvement in the controversial subsidy, Bakare said: “Sometime in 2014, Petrocam Trading approached Obat Oil and Petroluem Limited for a business transaction with Petrocam, making an offer to finance the importation of PMS (petrol) through its bank, Sterlin Bank, for Obat Oil. Both parties signed a service agreement to begin the transaction and Petrocam did undertake the importation of 15,000 metric tonnes of PMS in lots – either by its own resources or through bank.
“During the course of the business transaction and at conclusion, Petrocam failed to fulfil its obligations under the service agreement. For instance, Petrocam paid N3 per litre of the allocation, as opposed to the agreed sum of N5 per litre. This was the first act of breach displayed by Petrocam Trading.”
Bakare said efforts to settle the outstanding payment failed and the business relationship collapsed.
The rejoinder added: “Despite our best efforts at attempting to get the issue of outstanding payment resolved and …hoping that business could still be done with Petrocam, the business relationship broke down. We invited Mr. Ilo for reconciliation on several occasions to enable the parties reconcile their accounts based on the transactions and resolve the issues, but he declined. Rather than agree to our invitation for a joint account reconciliation, Mr. Ilo and Patrocam Trading curiously obtained and published our UBA statement of account without our consent, permission and authorisation. It became obvious that Patrocam was shying away from the facts because he had skeletons in his cupboard.”
Obat said his tank farm was not shut, yet it added: ”We, therefore, denounce the invasion of our premises by agents of the state acting on lopsided reports presented by a party that has some interest to serve.”
Ilo insisted last night that his position against Obat was true.