The Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) (PEF) Board has vowed to punish any oil marketer who engages in falsification of documents for the movement of petroleum products in the country.
Already, PEF has sanctioned 25 oil marketers for various offences aimed at defrauding the Federal Government through bridging claims.The offences ranged from changing of truck heads without getting clearance from the agency, and tampering of tags affixed on trucks to the presentation of trucks with water (instead of petrol) at receiving depots by these marketers.
Although bridging was meant to be a temporary solution until the refineries were producing at full capacity, but the state of the refineries had worsened over the years.In a copy of the guideline made available to The Guardian, if a marketer is confirmed to have tampered with the marking tag when defaced, removed, relocated, transferred, or re-positioned would lead to the suspension of the marketer for a period of three months.
It also said the marketer shall pay an administrative fee of N250,000 to be reinstated in the Board?s database. PEF further said the transaction of any marketer who presents empty trucks at the receiving depots shall be invalidated immediately, in addition to being suspended for three months.
Also, any marketer making claims on non-functioning outlets shall be suspended until the outlet is re-verified and confirmed to be functional. ?Marketer shall be required to refund payments made while outlet was proven to be non-functional. The marketer shall pay an administrative fee of N250,000 to be reinstated in the Board?s database.?
Similarly, marketers using non-existing outlets to make claims from the Board shall be required to refund money paid by the Board through the non-existing outlet.With regard to selling above approved rates, the guideline stipulated that any marketer selling products above approved price shall pay a penalty fee of N500,000.
While confirming the development, the Fund?s General Manager (Corporate Services) Dr. Goddy Nnadi, said: ?We have cancelled their transactions and they have to pay the penalties,? but didn?t give the names of these marketers.
Nnadi said over five members of staff of the Fund, who aided the marketers to commit the frauds were now undergoing disciplinary processes.?One of them has been sacked while five others were suspended. Their cases are before the Board,? he added.
The Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mordecai Ladan, warned marketers to desist from such sharp practices and deliver products lifted from the depots to designated filling stations, within the stipulated one to three days grace period, depending on the point of discharge.
He said that DPR offices nationwide have been directed to intensify surveillance activities to all private truck parking terminals and depots, to ensure that petroleum products lifted from depots are neither hoarded nor diverted.
?DPR assures the public that Government maintains adequate daily sufficiency of products while intensifying efforts to revamp and enhance the performance of its local refineries to fill-in any identified gaps.The sanctions applicable to all defaulters of the laws and regulations guiding sales and distributions of petroleum products in the country remain in force,? he added.