Firm Drags NAOC To House of Reps Over $30m

by Tony Icheku, Abuja

A Nigerian firm, De Coon Services  Limited has dragged Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC,  before the  House of Representatives over contracts scams and non payment of debts valued at over $30 million and N70 million.

 Managing Director of the engineering services firm in the Oil and Gas sector, Mr Nelson Onubogu in a petition addressed to the Speaker,  House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila alleged that he was compelled to petition the Lower Chamber as NAOC has received over 70% of these monies via several cash-calls performed with NAPIMS for the contract in question, but spurned several requests to redeem its indebtedness to  De Coon Services Limited from the received funds.

Onubuogu further maintained that besides the debt,  NAOC has refused to issue the mandatory 'Purchase Orders' that would allow the company facilitate invoices for payment for  services  already provided to NAOC for  its Oil and Gas production.

"Additional $7m is also owed De Coon Services Ltd  for invoices unpaid within the system", the petitioner stated.

Onubuogu alleged that NAOC's Italian partners while ochestrating plans to sabotage  his company, are making concessions and favouring their handpicked local contractors or stooges in a bid to undermine the Nigerian local content legislation governing the oil/gas sub-sector.

He specifically pinpointed Messrs Ikechukwu Iyeh and Lawrence Osakwe as the arrowheads of the Italian plot to implicate his company in  financial crimes. He also named  one Ms Obiageli Okeke of Oando as an accomplice in the plot..

Onubuogu  appealed to the House of Representatives through its Committee on Petroleum Upstream  to commence  thorough investigation into the allegations raised by his company.

Amongst others, the petitioner alleged that Mr. Tiani Alessandro of NAOC directed his men to:

* Block the award of the maintenance contract for  Compressors won by De Coon Services Ltd  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, and blocked the Company from the list of companies bidding at the commercial stage for the ESP tender.

*   To frustrate and tranfer his company's contracts to it's Italian favoured local contractors and stooges, and replace De Coon with such  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.

Mr Onubuogu also urged the Reps Committee to instruct  NAOC to pay all outstanding bills due to the company plus compensation for late payment, and pay  damages caused to his company's operations by NAOC's intentional sabotages.

He further prayed House of Reps to direct NAOC to accept his company 's new gas generators and allow his company to submit invoices as well as implement the 2018 rate of the CAT, GMC as directed by NNPC via NAPIMS since NAOC, NAPIMS and Oando participated in the Factory Acceptance Test at the Original Equipment Manufacturer's (CATERPILLAR) facility in the USA and signed the Test Reports.

Onubuogu alleged 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 explained that as at 2018, over $16.5 million dollars was owed De Coon  Services Ltd by NAOC, and has now grown to over $30m (over N13b).  

Mr Onubogu who shed more light on the Local Content legislation as applicable to the oil/gas sector maintained that the law has made it possible for local Nigerian companies to grow and develop in the oil and gas sector, and the legislature as creators of the law must not sit by and allow this development to be strangulated.

The petitioner submitted  evidences to support his claims of NAOC's indebtedness to his firm  and other documents showing evidences of arbitrarily contracts scams and manipulations against his company by NAOC. 

Summing up, the petitioner argued that if actions are not taken to correct these criminalities by the House,  the huge debt, would affect not just De Coon but will have spiral effect on other local contractors as well. reports that NAOC is a joint venture agreement with NNPC holding 60% equity on behalf of Nigeria's Federal Government, while Agip Oil and Oando each hold 20% respectively.

The House Committee on Petroleum Upstream after hearing from the petitioner adjourned to August 12, 2020 for continuation of the investigative hearing and directed all concerned parties to   appear before it
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