OANDO Plc has reacted over its indictment by Federal Government Technical Committee on Payment of Fuel Subsidies, saying the company was never involved in any illegal activities in all its fuel import into the country.
In a statement signed by its Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Meka Olowola, the company said: “We refer to the newspaper publications relating to the alleged report by the Federal Government Technical Committee on Payment of Fuel Subsidies, set up by the Hon. Minister of Finance and Chaired by Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede to verify the 2011 fuel subsidy payments to oil marketers of which Oando PLC and its subsidiary, Oando Supply and Trading Ltd were included.
“The terms of reference of the Technical Committee on Payment of Fuel Subsidies were to authenticate the backlog of outstanding payments of subsidy payments to marketers in 2011, verify the legitimacy of backlog of claims already submitted by marketers for 2011 and review any other pertinent issues that may arise from the exercise
“Considering the gravity of the mandate, the committee ought to have taken adequate steps to ensure the veracity of their reports by listing all its queries and inviting the market operators to defend themselves; Provided copies of the draft report to members of the committee, including the sector representatives MOMAN and IPMAN, to verify their findings against the realities of downstream operations in Nigeria; and acted with duty of care before releasing the report to the press.
“Unfortunately, the committee did not take all reasonable steps in ensuring the fulfillment of its mandate, giving rise to misinformation and confusion across the industry.
“Accordingly, we state without equivocation that on the allegation of subsidies paid without auditor’s signature on shore tank receipt documents (10 transactions listed against Oando) - Upon arrival of vessels, government agencies including PPPRA auditors and DPR, verify quantity on board as well as shore tank volumes prior to the commencement of receipt.
“As such it is virtually impossible for vessels to discharge without due sign offs by the authorities. We have documents duly witnessed by all government agencies including PPPRA, DPR and independent inspectors for all discharges including the stated transactions.
“On the allegation of subsidies paid without evidence of Bill of Lading documents (2 transactions listed against Oando) -Oando has never claimed subsidy without evidence of Bill of Lading. Indeed, it is obvious that a company cannot import without a Bill of Lading.
All Bills of Lading and shipment documents are available for inspection as we had earlier provided them to other authorities upon request.
“On the allegation of subsidies paid without evidence of bank sales proceeds (29 transactions listed against Oando) -We have evidence of all bank sales proceeds and trucking reports regarding the said transactions and are prepared to make same available to the committee.
“On the allegation of subsidies paid but transaction disclaimed by Banks (1 transaction listed against Oando) - The letter from the bank confirming the said transaction is available for inspection.
“We look forward to the opportunity to present these documents to the committee so that they can appropriately conclude their report.
“Irrespective of the multiplicity of probes initiated by the various tiers of government since the start of the year, Oando has always been ready, willing and able to provide all relevant documents supporting claims made, both past and present, against the Petroleum Subsidy Fund (PSF) and to demonstrate the culture of integrity that the company stands for.
“Oando is a law abiding body and as a key industry stakeholder remains committed to supporting the Federal Government in ensuring petroleum products are made available nationwide,” the company stressed.