01 March 2013, ABUJA — THE House of Representatives has ordered an investigation into the alleged wastage of the sum of $60million by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation,NNPC, on an oil vessel named MT Tuma.
The said vessel which is owned by the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, a subsidiary of the NNPC, was purchased for the haulage of petroleum products.
The House mandated its Committee on Petroleum Resources, Downstream, to investigate the rationale behind the prolonged stay of the ship in Brazil and ascertain those individuals or organisations responsible for its delay.
This resolution followed a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Hon. Mudashiru Kamil Akinlabi, representing Afijo/Atiba/ Oyo West/Oyo East Federal Constituency.
Akinlabi said that MT Tuma left the shores of Nigeria in 2007 for a routine dry docking exercise (maintenance) which was expected to last three months. He, however, alleged that the ship left Nigeria without a proper scope of the work to be done on it.
According to him, the ship had gone on a similar voyage before then and was abandoned in Brazil for almost six years, costing the nation about $5million.
He alleged that MT Tuma found her way into the shores of Nigeria in May last year without the maintenance job done.
In spite of the shoddy job, Akinlabi said, the ship incurred a cost of about $60 million arising from demurrage and other port charges in Brazil.
“We are conscious of the fact that several contracts were awarded for the maintenance of the said vessel and money paid out to various companies without any work done.
“MT Tuma is now lying idle on the high sea and not in good shape to perform any economic function even after having spent at least $60m of tax payers’ money,” he said.
Akinlabi also alleged that he learnt that the NNPC was considering a total disposal of the ship, adding that, that would amount to the nation losing about $70million.
*Okey Ndiribe and Emman Ovuakporie, Vanguard