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We Don’t Keep Oil Marketers Subsidy funds- DMO Tells Court



The Debt Management Office, DMO has told the Federal High Court in Lagos that its role in the management of the subsidy regime is purely administrative as “ Physical custody of the funds used for the payment of subsidy claims by oil marketers are, at all material times, kept and domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria”.

The Agency stated this in response to a suit filed by Eco Bank Nigeria Limited asking the court to imprison the Director General pf DMO Dr. Abraham Nwankwo Nwankwo over alleged disobedience and contempt of a court order directing the Agency to transfer an outstanding fuel subsidy sum due to Deepwater Discovery Limited into the company’s account with Ecobank.

The bank had claimed that Deepwater Discovery Limited had a cumulative fuel subsidy claim of about N1.8bn with DMO, out of which it claimed that N845m plus was due for payment.

But in a counter suit filed by DMO to puncture Ecobank’s committal proceedings, the Principal Operations Officer of the Agency,  Sandra Ipigansi, maintained that the alleged contemnors were never served with the papers for contempt proceedings in their personal capacities as demanded by the law.

Also, Ipigansi noted that the issue of disobedience to court order did not arise, because DMO could not have transferred the fund as directed by the court as the agency was never in custody of any subsidy claims by marketers.

According to Ipigansi, the role of DMO in subsidy claims is more or less administrative, while the money is usually kept and claimed from the Central Bank of Nigeria by the concerned oil marketers.

She claimed, “Physical custody of the funds used for the payment of subsidy claims by oil marketers are, at all material times, kept and domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Ipigansi explained that the Debt Management Office and its Officers by their mandate, “Do not keep custody of funds and do not directly touch funds meant for the subsidy claims payment and therefore lack the capacity to transfer funds to any account as directed by the court, as they do not have custody of the said funds”.

“The duty of the 2nd defendant is more or less administrative and limited to the issuance of sovereign debt notes to oil marketers on the advice of the Petroleum Pricing Regulatory Agency, after due diligence and other necessary payment procedure.”

Ipigansi added that it was strange that a court would order DMO to remit the subsidy sum due to an oil marketer into the bank account of a judgment creditor.

Though the Court has adjourned proceedings till May, 13, 2015 close watchers say the case presents a rather complicated judicial web to untangle.

Investigations reveal that there are several suits presently at the Federal High Court involving First Deep Water Discovery and other creditors, including Ecobank Nigeria Limited, who have approached the Court to recover their monies from the First Deep Water.

It was learnt that the monies for which Ecobank is seeking the court to commit the Director General of DMO to prison is the subject of dispute among a handful of parties who have equally filed or obtained court order/judgment demanding the DMO to pay the same money to them.

The companies in this bracket include; First Bank of Nigeria PLC, Stallionaire Energy Limited, Olive Energy Limited, Bargamo Shipping Limited,Sulphur Stream Limited  and Faiceck Petroleum Limited.


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