The Ministry of Petroleum Resources has refuted allegations of fraudulent purchase of pens worth N116 million by some unnamed officials of the ministry, insisting that some of the affected civil servants had either retired or redeployed to other ministries in line with routine civil service rules.
It emphasised that the alleged transaction predated the current leadership of the ministry, as the infractions in question-related to the 2015 accounts.
Reacting to discussions on the matter and reports in some online platforms and traditional media, the special adviser to the minister of State, Petroleum, Mr Garba Deen Muhammad, on behalf of his principal, Chief Timipre Sylva, stated that the alleged culprits were currently being investigated by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
According to a statement signed and dated January 5, 2021, Garba Deen said the explanation became necessary as it was obvious that some people are determined to misinform the public on the matter, despite the clarification from the ministry.
While commending those who have expressed genuine concern by drawing the attention of the ministry to the ongoing debate over the corruption allegations, he stated that the reported infractions happened as far back as 2015, noting that the officers have since been retired or redeployed out of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in line with the practice in the civil service.
The statement titled: "Re-Buhari's Oil Ministry Reels Under Corruption Allegations" read in part: "The attention of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources has been drawn to numerous publications on the above subject which has appeared in several newspapers since Friday, 11th December 2020 and have also been trending on social media.
"Since these publications relate to issues that predated the present the leadership of the Ministry of Petroleum, we initially did not react.
"But it has become obvious that some people are determined to misinform the public on this matter; despite the clarification made by the ministry which was published on page 17, of the Thisday Newspaper of Tuesday, December 22, 2020.
"The general public should note that while it is true that the auditor-general raised audit observations on infractions committed by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, these infractions related to the 2015 accounts of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
"It should further be noted that these infractions appeared in the 2015 report of the auditor-general for the federation which is presently under consideration by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Senate."
"The public should further note that the officers the report of the Auditor-General for the Federation indicted have since been retired or redeployed out of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in line with the practice in the civil service.