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Reps direct NNPC Limited to suspend OVH acquisition, probe deal

The House of Representatives has asked the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to suspend the acquisition of OVH Energy Marketing, the company behind the Oando Retail brand in West African countries.

This call was a sequel to deliberation on a motion tagged “Need to Investigate the Irregularities and Alleged Corruption in the Nigerian Energy Security Provider, NNPC Retail Limited and the Acquisition of OVH Energy Marketing,” moved by Miriam Onuoha (APC, Imo) and six others on Thursday during plenary.

The suspension directive comes against the backdrop of the secret deals surrounding the acquisition of the company.

Opaque Deals

Last October, NNPC Limited acquired OVH downstream business to add over 380 filling stations to its portfolio.

But in June, PREMIUM TIMES’ investigation on the acquisition exposed the secret deals and the complicated ownership structure that left managerial control of NNPC Retail in the hands of OVH Energy Marketing.

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The report also exposed how OVH Energy Marketing only has 94 stations and how over 100 stations were leased.

In addition, the report highlighted how Huub Stoksman, an expatriate and former Chief Executive Officer of OVH Energy, emerged as the new Managing Director of NNPC Retail—a development that further compounded the structure of NNPC Retail.

PREMIUM TIMES also found that the acquisition of OVH Energy had turned NNPC Retail into a toxic workspace, with officials of the former taking over the latter’s running.

But despite a Freedom Of Information request, NNPCL kept details of the acquisition under wraps, with many alleging shadiness.

Moving the motion on Thursday, Ms Onuoha highlighted some of the findings of the report by PREMIUM TIMES, particularly the issues around ownership structure.

She stated that the appointment of the management of OVH as head of NNPC Retail presents a conflict of interest.

“If a firm buys more than 50 per cent of a target company’s shares, it effectively gains control of that company, but in this case, it appears that the NNPC has taken over OVH Energy, but in operational terms, it is OVH Energy that has taken over the affairs of NNPC Retail,” Ms Onuoha said.

Ms Onuoha faulted the opacity in the acquisition deal and called for scrutiny of the assets and liabilities of OVH before the transaction.

She stated that OVH marketing overvalued its assets to sweeten the deal with NNPC Limited.

“Before the acquisition, OVH Energy claimed to have about 380 company-owned stations, a jetty (ASPM) WITH240,000 MT, Eight (😎 LPG plants, three Lubricants blending plants, three aviation and fuel depots and 12 warehouses, whereas they had owned only 72 stations as others were leased or owned by third parties, all eight LPG plants were leased, 12 lubricant warehouses listed were leased,” she said.

Following the presentation of her motion, the House resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the deal.

Furthermore, the yet-to-be-constituted Committee will investigate the proposed relocation of the NNPC Retail Head office from Abuja to Lagos.

The motion was taken unanimously when the presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Ben Kalu, put it to vote.

The House mandated the committee to report back within four weeks

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