Facts have emerged on how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) disgraced a former Commissioner of Finance, Enugu State, Mr. Peter Mbah over a petition which misled the commission.
Mbah, who owns Pinnacle and Gas Oil Limited, had in a petition accused a civil engineering firm,
Olyton Nigeria Limited and it’s owner Mr. Oliver Okeregwu, of “criminally diverting” N829.6 million he (Mbah) paid for the construction of a tank farm in Warri, Delta State.
In the petition dated July 17, 2014, and with reference number PLG/17072014/EFCC/0001, Mbah claimed he overpaid Oyton N301.1 million for the tank farm, but that the engineering firm failed to deliver on the project.
He alleged that Olyton initially agreed to build the tank farm for N652.8 million, but later began making further financial demands without completing the contract.
Officials of the EFCC conversant with the issue told
Pointblanknews.com that on receiving the petition, they knew it was a civil matter, but nonetheless invited Olyton’s CEO Oliver Okeregwu for questioning.
“We get hundreds of such petitions everyday. Some people think the EFCC is an agency for-hire to settle personal scores. That’s why we are often very careful whenever we receive such petitions. Most times, it is the case of petitioners trying to dodge financial obligations running to us for cover,” offered a top official.
He continued, “When Olyton CEO Oliver Okeregwu honoured our invitation, we discovered that his company indeed completed the tank farm, but that a disagreement arose over how much Pinnacle Oil should pay for additional civil works such as access roads.
“Rather than settle with Olyton Ltd., the Pinacle Oil boss Mr. Peter Mbah, we believe, managed to hire soldiers guarding neighbouring oil installations to forcefully chase out Olyton workers on their site, seizing their equipment.”
He explained, “When we visited Pinacle Oil and Gas site in Warri, we saw several earthmoving equipment of Olyton submerged in water, with armed soldiers, who initially didn’t want to give us access, standing guard. I doubt if such machines will ever be used again,” stressing, “we wondered why Mbah, who is a lawyer, could so resort to self-help.”
Pointblanknews.com gathered that, upon returning from inspecting the tank farm in Warri, EFCC officials chided Mbah for using a frivolous petition to waste the time and resources of the commission.
“We advised him to settle his outstanding liabilities with the contractor, and that as a young businessman, he should refrain from using backhand tactics to deal with his business associates,” added the official.
Contacted, Olyton MD, Okeregwu affirmed that his company had a disagreement with Pinacle Oil and Gas, and that he lost “so much money and equipment” in the process. He, however, stressed that “we are in court and as a law-abiding citizen, I would rather await the decision of the court than comment on the pages of newspapers.”
Efforts by Pointblanknews.com to get the management of Pinacle Oil officially respond to the matter didn’t yield results. Several text messages and telephone calls to the CEO of the firm weren’t responded to.
However, an official of the company who didn’t want to be quoted, conceded that they used soldiers to chase away Olyton workers, but described the disagreement as “unfortunate.”
He said, “our MD and that of Olyton have been friends right from our MD’s days as Chief of State, and, later, Finance Commissioner in Enugu State. I know that Olyton delivered several fantastic jobs for our MD. I was therefore shocked that this tank farm deal went awry, and the relationship between them so quickly degenerated.
“I think my boss (Mbah) was misled, and I believe he’s since realized that. It is a disagreement between two former close friends. I strongly believe they will reconcile their differences, and whatever my boss owes Olyton will be fully settled,” he assured.