The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday said that it has recovered a total sum of N1.59bn in their operations between January and September, 2018, from the Port Harcourt zone of the agency
The anti-graft agency also disclosed that it equally recovered a total sum of $678,354.80 as well as the sum of €5,254 within the period under review.
The head of operation of the agency in Port Harcourt zone, Nnaghe Obono Itam, who disclosed this in a statement in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, Wednesday, also said a total number of 283 trucks laden with illegal petroleum substance were apprehended by the army and handed over to the commission within the same period.
Itam said laboratory test conducted by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC), on the products confirmed that 121 of the trucks were loaded with adulterated diesel, 39 of them has high pour Fuel oil(HPFO) and low Pour Fuel oil(LPFO), whereas 31 of the vehicles were laden with waste/lube oil, among others.
He however noted that 59 of the truck with estimated quantity of 1, 013.7 metric tons (1,180,00 litres) of the petroleum product (diesel, kerosene and crude oil), have been forfeited to the Federal Government after investigation.
However, the commission is worried that the owners of the trucks have not shown up to claim their property since the vehicles were impounded.
Itam equally expressed challenge in prosecuting the drivers who he said are presently on army bail.
According to him, the army officers who arrested the drivers and impounded the trucks have equally refused to liaise with the legal department of the commission for proper statement to enable them commence prosecution of the suspects.
He said: “It is pertinent to note that some of the owners of the trucks are yet to report to claim ownership of their trucks. This may be due to the fact that the drivers after their release by the Nigerian Army never reported the incident to their respective owners.
“Some owners that reported assisted the commission in the arrest of their drivers. Charges have been prepared against the drivers and they will be arraigned in court soon.” he stressed.
Expressing handicap in the their investigations said: “The commission in locating the owners who are yet to claim their trucks is currently liaising with various states’ motor licencing agencies for registration of the trucks. The ones without owners will be published on the newspapers before their final forfeiture.” he said.
Speaking further he said: “The arresting officers of the army who are key in the successful prosecution of these cases in court are yet to report for statement despite several appeals,” he expressed.