Capital Oil highlighted the various transactions it had with the
NNPC for which the corporation was yet to pay it N16 billion.
It has brought to the fore Dr Ubah’s ordeal in the hands of the DSS and the failure of the agency to honour the truce terms it entered with Ubah.
In a statement issued on Monday, the company described Ubah’s detention as unlawful and a breach of his fundamental human rights.
Last Saturday, the DSS, in a statement, said that it had arrested Chief Ubah over the disappearance of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) worth N11 billion stored in the facilities of Capital Oil.
But yesterday, the company said that what took place was a business transaction, adding that the NNPC owes it about N16 billion.
The statement read: “The incarceration of our Chairman by the DSS is unlawful, a disregard for the rule of law and a breach of Dr. Ubah’s fundamental rights to liberty, freedom of movement and association.”
“A similar invitation was extended to Dr. Ubah on the 24th of March, 2017, which he honoured as a law-abiding citizen only to be detained in DSS offices in Abuja for almost a month. During that period, a fundamental rights enforcement application was brought on behalf of Dr. Ubah at the Federal High Court, Lagos as Suit No. FHC/L/C/487/2017.”
“Although an order was made for his production in court in that action, rather than obey the order, the DSS, using a combination of coercion and cajoling, constrained him to discontinue that action upon an understanding that he would be immediately released. He was not released until over two weeks after he had complied and completely discontinued that action”.
The management also explained Ubah’s release on April 13, 2017.
According to the statement, “it was now discovered that during his incarceration he had been coerced into executing various documents committing the company to make certain payments and pledge some assets to NNPC Retail Limited. He was also made to execute a document in favour of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).”
“As soon as his doctors were permitted access to him, an action was brought at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court seeking, inter alia, an order to restrain the DSS and others from further inviting, arresting or threatening to arrest or detain him in regard to the NNPC/NNPC Retail Ltd matters.”
“The processes originating the new action filed as Suit No. FHC/L/CS/644/2017 were served on the DSS on April 28, 2017. Dr Ubah’s lawyers wrote to the DSS pointing out that any pre-emption of the judicial intervention during the pendency of the new action is totally irregular, a disregard of the rule of law, the constitutional guarantees of separation of powers and breach of the doctrine of Lis Pendens.”
“Rather than respect its constitutional and statutory limits, the DSS has brazenly abducted Dr. Ubah and commenced a media blitz to justify their illegality”.
Capital Oil gave a breakdown of NNPC’s indebtedness to it as follows:
• $5,540,000 (N2.2 billion) – unpaid berthing fees for NNPC vessels that called at our jetty;
• $2,952,555 (N1 billion) – invoice for chartered vessels to carry out STS operations Lagos offshore to ferry product (PMS) to storage at the request of NNPC since 2015;
• N1.170 billion – amount owed to Capital Oil & Gas Industries Limited for throughput services from March to October 2016;
• N3.146 billion – payment made to NNPC for 26,820 million litres of PMS vide pro-forma invoice No. 53598 which is yet to be delivered to us;
• N2.0 billion – payment to NNPC in April to facilitate the release of the Managing Director and engender reconciliation which NNPC reneged on; and
• N6.266 billion – N0.80k and N0.40 Jetty Throughput charge on over seven billion litres dispensed for NNPC by Capital Oil.
The company also debunked the allegation of economic sabotage levelled against Dr. Ubah, pointing out that its Chairman has over time intervened at critical moments when the effective and efficient distribution of petroleum products was threatened.
“It is unimaginable that a company which has stood by NNPC and by extension the country at very critical petroleum supply crises can now be accused of engaging in activities to undermine the effective distribution of petroleum products across the country, having thwarted a nationwide industrial action called by oil marketers during the epic inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
“We wish to reiterate that Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited is committed to serving the nation to the best of its capacity and ability,” the Management added.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has called on the Federal Government to use dialogue to resolve the lingering impasse between the management of Capital Oil and the DSS over the issue.
The union stated that workers have the right to protest the non-payment of their salaries and allowances and that the Federal Government should secure the jobs of those working in the sector.
NUPENG, in a statement signed by its President, Mr. Igwe Achese, stressed that although it does not support the alleged illegal diversion and sale of petroleum products, it was of the opinion that the Federal Government could not sit still and watch workers lose their jobs.
The union also made reference to the case of Seawolf Oil Services that was taken over by AMCON in which it lamented that the workers were yet to be paid their backlog of salaries and entitlements for over five years.
“NUPENG believes that the job creation mantra of the government should be allowed to play, rather than paving way for job losses as it is the case of the current closure of Capital Oil,” he said.
Achese therefore asked the government to allow the 2,000 workers to resume work at the depot and load products so that their salaries can be paid, “instead of throwing them into the unemployment market for no fault of theirs.”