By JONATHAN LOIS
An engineering company operating in the oil and gas sector, DE COON Services Limited has written a petition to the House of Representatives over alleged several contracts scams and non-payment of the sums of over $30m and N70M owed it by Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC. This is irrespective of the fact that NAOC has received over 70% of these monies via several cash-calls performed with NAPIMS for this contract but failed to pay the received monies to De Coon Services Limited.
The Managing Director of the firm, Engr. Nelson Onubogu in the petition addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, said the amounts represent only the debt NAOC has refused to issue the required Purchase Orders that would allow the company submit invoices for payment despite the services having been already provided to NAOC for NAOC’s Oil and Gas production. Additional $7m is also owed the company for invoices unpaid within the system.
He alleged that NAOC who owns 20 per cent share in the Joint Venture (JV) operation with the Federal Government is trying to frustrate and transfer his company’s contracts to it’s Italian, local Contractors and stooges. The Federal Government (NNPC) owns 60% while OANDO owns the balance of 20%
He accused Mr Ikechukwu Iyeh and Lawrence Osakwe, both staff of NAOC, of being used to perpetuate the contractual and financial crimes against his company in collaboration with one Ms. Obiageli Okeke of OANDO.
He therefore appealed to the House of Representatives through its Committee on Petroleum Upstream led by Hon. Sarkin Musa Adar to carry out a thorough investigation into the allegations raised by his company.
The MD also asked the Reps Committee to ask NAOC to pay all outstanding bills due to his company plus compensation for late payment and damages caused to his company’s operations by intentional sabotages of their operation.
He also prayed for the House of Reps to direct NAOC to allow his company to supply the two new gas generators to enable them to submit her invoices since NAOC, NAPIMS and OANDO participated in the Factory Acceptance Test at the Original Equipment Manufacturers (CATERPILLAR) facility in the USA and signed the Test Reports. The Managing Director also demanded for the immediate implementation by NAOC of the 2018 rate of the CAT, GMC contract as directed by NNPC via NAPIMS.
As at 2018, over $16.5 million dollars stood as debt due DE COON Services Ltd by NAOC, but this has now grown to over $30m (over N13b).
According to Engr. Nelson Onubogu, Nigeria local content law has made it possible for local Nigerian companies to grow and develop in the oil and gas industries, to this effort must not be allowed to be strangulated. He submitted all the evidences of the debts owed his company and other documents showing evidences of arbitrarily contracts scams and manipulations against his company by NAOC. These documents show that if actions are not taken to correct these criminalities by the members of the committee, this huge debt, would affect not just De Coon but other local contractors as well.
Speaking further, the Managing Director of De Coon stated that “Mr. Tiani Alessandro of NAOC authorised their legal department to hold several meetings with us to reconcile the bills for payment, but NAOC’s legal department simply informed us that they have the management’s mandate to offer us a settlement payment of $2 million only,” he stated.
Irrespective of this huge debt to De Coon, Mr. Tiani Alessandro of NAOC directed his men to:
* Block the award of the Maintenance contract for the Compressors won by De Coon via a Nipex tender since early 2019 till now.
* Ensure that De Coon is not allowed to progress to commercial stage of any Nipex tender. For this De Coon was blocked from the list of companies bidding at the commercial stage for the ESP tender.
* Replace De Coon with NAOC’s stooges in all their existing contracts by conducting quick tenders on those jobs while excluding De Coon from participating in the tenders. This is irrespective of the fact that is the incumbent contractor on those jobs.
After presenting his petition, the Committee closed for the day and adjourned to August 12, 2020 for continuation of the investigative hearing for all concerned to ensure they appear.