The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday called on the Petroleum Products Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN) to guard against fraudulent practices that could injure the country’s economy.
The call was made by the Head of the Port Harcourt zonal office of the agency, Abdulkarim Chukkol.
Chukkol also asked the group to sensitise its members on the dangers of illegal oil bunkering.
He said: “It is important that you look inward and advise your members that are involved in unwholesome practices. There are people that don’t know that illegal oil bunkering is a crime and will be spoiling your name.”
The EFCC zonal head appreciated the association for the visit.
He added that the anti-graft agency thrived on collaboration, as it couldn’t win the fight against corruption and other economic crimes alone.
The Zonal Chairman of PETROAN, Prince Sunny Nkpe, in an earlier remark, said they were at the EFCC to extend a hand of fellowship and support to the agency.
Nkpe noted that the association, an umbrella body of approved petroleum products retail outlets, owners of LPG skid plants and LPG stand-alone plant, had been collaboarating with security agencies to fight illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism and other acts of sabotage in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, “we have collaborated with the security agencies in the surveillance and total eradication of vandalism on the 60km,12inches crude pipeline that supplies the Port Harcourt Refinery Company before its eventual shutdown due to shortfall in routine maintenance.
“We are also involved in the System 2E white products line traversing Port Harcourt, Aba, Enugu and Makurdi Depots respectively “.
Despite this history of collaboration, Nkpe said his association was troubled by frequent seizure of trucks and products belonging to its members by security agencies, including the EFCC.
He said cases of confiscation had led severe losses to its members.
He specifically called on the zonal head to review the case of a truck belonging to BleContinental Nigeria Limited, which he claimed was impounded since June, 2020 over alleged product adulteration.
In his response, Chukkol assured the association that no truck belonging to them would be held a day longer than necessary. He however pointed out that there were several agencies in the investigation chain which invariably impacted on the timely conclusion of investigations.
He said the commission was not sitting on any case as regards the Ble Continental matter.
He said: “We are not sitting on any case. Very soon, the outcome of the investigation will be revealed.”