nupengThe Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) Board (PEF) said that it has blacklisted 12 petroleum marketers for seeking underserved bridging payments through fraudulent means.

The PEF General Manger, Corporate Services, Mr Goddy Nnadi, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday.

Goddy, who declined to give the names of the marketers, said the marketers had also been banned from all bridging and equalisation transactions for six months.

“The marketers currently undergoing investigation have been banned from all bridging and equalisation transactions for six months.

“All the directors of the companies have also been barred and will not be accepted under different company names,’’ he said.

Nnadi said the blacklisted marketers’ workers were involved in the stealing and swapping of tags affixed on petroleum tankers under the electronic loading scheme with the aim of defrauding PEF.

The general manager who decried the activities of the marketers, described their activities as an economic sabotage to the nation.

He said the board had started sensitisation across all the depots in the country to warn marketers on the consequences of stealing the tags, which he noted, were being issued free of charge.

According to him, the board has imposed penalties for the loss of tags as well as introduced new fees for the re-registration and tagging of trucks with vandalised tags to serve as deterrent.

“Marketers with damaged tags will pay a replacement fee of N50,000 and those who lose the tags will henceforth pay N50,000. Tagging of new trucks will continue to be free,’’ he said.

Nnadi said the board was already collaborating with security agencies to ensure full prosecution of offending marketers.

He added that those found guilty by the law courts would be permanently blacklisted and made public.

The electronic loading scheme tagged, “Project Aquila”, was introduced by PEF to ensure electronic monitoring and distribution of petroleum products across the country.

It will also fast-track the payment of bridging claims to marketers.

Information from Leadership was used in this report.