The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) has admonished owners of petroleum products’ retail outlets in the country to guard against fraudulent practices inimical to the economic health of Nigeria.
Abdulkarim Chukkol, Port Harcourt’s zonal head of the EFCC gave the charge on Tuesday while receiving in his office, members of the Petroleum Products Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria, PETROAN.
He urged the group to sensitize its members on the dangers of illegal oil bunkering.
“It is important that you look inward and advice 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,” he said.
He appreciated the association for the visit, noting that the EFCC thrives on collaboration, as it cannot win the fight against corruption and other economic crimes alone.
In his remarks, the Zonal Chairman of PETROAN, Prince Sunny Nkpe, said they were at the EFCC to extend a hand of fellowship and support to the agency.
He noted that the association, which is the 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 is troubled by the spate of impoundment of trucks and products belonging to its members by security agencies, including the EFCC.
He said cases of confiscation have occasioned 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 will be held a day longer than necessary.
He however pointed out that there are several agencies in the investigation chain which invariably impacts the timely conclusion of investigation.
Addressing specifically The Ble Continental matter, he said “we are not sitting on any case. Very soon, the outcome of the investigation will be revealed.”