Govt promises to sanitise petroleum sector


Offshore oil production

THE Federal Government has expressed commitment to tackle corruption and bring back transparency and accountability to the petroleum industry.

The Head of Nigeria’s Delegation to the 167th OPEC Meeting, Dr. Jamila Shu’ara, said: “Nigeria is committed to tackling corruption especially in the extractive industry and will strive to bring back transparency and accountability in public life especially in the petroleum industry which is the mainstay of national economy”

She however expressed government’s commitment to playing more proactive and effective roles in the affairs of the cartel, as the immediate past Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke bows out.

Shu’ara stated that Nigeria under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari, a one-time Minister of Petroleum Resources and Head of Nigeria’s Delegation to the OPEC Conference, will continue to work for the realization of the aims and objectives of the organization.

“I am here to covey to all Heads of Delegation of OPEC Member Countries, and indeed representatives of other countries, President Muhammadu Buhari’s gratitude, that of the government and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to member countries of our organization, and indeed the international community, for the keen interest shown and, in some cases, the support given to Nigeria towards the implementation of what has become a very successful political transition programme,” She said.

She noted that the Buhari Administration is committed to prosecuting the amnesty programme in Nigeria’s Niger-Delta with vigour with a view to bringing about lasting peace and stability in the area as well as in other parts of Nigeria; thus making the operational environment safe and attractive once again.

However, the uncertainty in the crude oil market has resulted in huge revenue and job losses and threatening investment in future production capacity, according to OPEC.

Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry, Alternate President of the OPEC, Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, who made this disclosure at the seminar yesterday, said the last nine months or so have been particularly challenging for the oil industry.

According to him, crude oil prices lost half their value as crude oversupply and speculation combined to upset the relative stability seen in oil markets over the previous years.

He stated: “Looking at the oil market today, there are a number of reasons to feel more optimistic about the general situation going forward. The global economic recovery is showing encouraging signs, oil demand is improving. Indeed, going by current trends, there should be a more balanced market in the second half of the year.

“Of course, we are not out of the woods yet and we are still faced with a lot of uncertainty.

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  • agbobu


    Facing a huge cash crisis, President Muhammadu Buhari has resorted to unusual strategies for recovering some of the funds stolen from Nigeria’s treasury through a series of shady deals between former Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke and a group of indigenous oil companies and oil marketers she and former President Goodluck Jonathan favored.Muhammadu Buhari during the inauguration today

    Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, brought the part of the illicit deals to public attention when he alerted Nigerians that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had failed to deposit $20 billion of oil revenues with the CBN. In addition, Mrs. Alison-Madueke had inked some deals, with the blessing of former President Jonathan, involving oil swaps and the transfer of certain oil wells reclaimed from multinational oil companies to shady Nigerian operators, including Jide Omokore and Kola Aluko.

    An investigation by SaharaReporters discovered that President Buhari’s administration has begun the difficult and complex process of retrieving some of the missing petro-billions. One approach so far adopted by the new president is aimed at addressing the fuel scarcity that has harmed the Nigerian economy and threatens to paralyze the country’s economic activities, according to highly placed officials in the government.

    But one exception involves Mr. Omokore whose Atlantic Atlantic Energy Oil Company was involved in the controversial concession of oil wells. A source at the Presidency told SaharaReporters that Mr. Omokore had volunteered to return $500 million to the Federal Government. However, the source added that President Buhari nixed the deal based on information that Mr. Omokore, believed to be a front for Mr. Jonathan and Mrs. Alison-Madueke, is in possession of $4.5 billion of funds that should have been deposited in the federation account.

    The sources told SaharaReporters that the government’s immediate strategy involved targeting oil marketers and companies “caught red-handed in stealing huge sums of oil subsidies and oil revenues.” The government has pressured these companies and their owners to agree to repay the stolen monies traced to them by immediately importing more fuel into Nigeria.

    The sources said the Buhari government has recorded significant early success in getting some oil marketers and their companies to accept the fuel-for-funds deals. “A number of them have agreed to import massive levels of fuel in lieu of the funds they received in shady transactions during the Jonathan administration,” one Presidency source claimed.

    Another source revealed that the administration had started out by putting pressure on former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke. She was reportedly quick to deny responsibility for the illicit deals with the oil marketers. Instead, she squealed on her subordinates in the NNPC, accusing them of structuring and doctoring the deals that robbed Nigeria of billions of dollars.

    “The [Buhari] government got her to write a formal account of her allegations against some NNPC officials and oil companies. What she put down gave a picture of how some of the funds went missing. The document was then forwarded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the form of a petition,” one source said.

    Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s “petition” reportedly named all the persons involved in the massive fraud in the oil sector, including some past and serving officials of the NNPC. Our sources said those she implicated in the NNPC include the current General Managing Director (GMD), Haruna Momoh, a former GMD, Austen Oniwon, Reginald Stanley and Sam Okeke, a former Group General Manager, New Business Division of the NNPC.

    An EFCC source told SaharaReporters that a crack team of investigators was currently working on the former minister’s petition. He said the document had revealed new facts previously unknown by EFCC agents and Nigeria’s intelligence officials at Department of State Services (DSS). Among the scams disclosed by the former minister is information that at least four companies involved in an oil swap deal had not accounted for huge sums that should have been remitted to the account of the Nigerian government.

    Among the companies implicated in her “petition,” Transfigura was reportedly unable to account for $80 million, Televeras $111million, while Aiteo apparently gulped down $150 million. Other oil firms named in the defrauding of the Nigerian people are Ontario, which failed to account for $135 million, and Sahara Energy, accused of skipping the payment of $120 million to the government.

    Our EFCC source revealed that two companies, Transfigura and Sahara Energy, had made some gesture towards paying back some missing funds. However, a source at the Presidency told our correspondent that “so far the reconciliation has involved just paperwork and has not scratched the heart of the scam.” Investigators described Aiteo and Ontario as particularly problematic because they have completely cooked their records. An investigator also disclosed that the two companies are most directly linked to Mrs. Alison-Madueke and former President Jonathan. Both Ms. Alison-Madueke and Mr. Jonathan are currently in the UK, with the former Petroleum Minister reportedly undergoing a weeklong cancer therapy.

    Some of the companies have agreed in principle to return the funds by bartering imported fuel for the funds they acquired illegally.

    Our sources disclosed that other downstream companies caught in the storm of missing and stolen funds include Forte Oil, owned by businessman Femi Otedola, Folawiyo Energy, and, Oando, owned by Wale Tinubu and Honeywell Oil Company owned by Oba Otudeko.

    Officials of the Buhari administration declined to give official confirmation of the stolen assets recovery process relating to other officials of the Jonathan Presidency.

  • agbobu

    Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, without doubt is an extremely smart person. However, what is not clear at all is whether her smartness is positively or negatively skewed and this remains an issue that depends solely on who is doing the definition.Diezani Alison-MaduekeState House Photo It would have been a welcomed development that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and The Department of State Security (DSS) have commenced investigation on the crude oil swap deals and the Offshore Processing Agreements (OPAs) involving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and some local oil and gas companies, but for the set of people that alleged directed the two agencies on the probe. It’s obvious that Diezani Madueke and the leadership of the NNPC and some of its strategic business units particularly the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) are trying everything possible to prevent a thorough investigation and honest forensic audit of the activities of the nation’s apex oil concern- the NNPC in the last few years. So they are setting up mock ‘probes and exoneration’ schemes to clear themselves of complicity in the massive fraud and corruption that characterised their tenure as managers of our national interests in the oil sector. How can the person whose name has been a common denominator in almost all the allegations of fraud and corruption in the NNPC and its SBUs, be the one arranging the anti-graft agency for a probe into the alleged misdeeds? Is it not clear that the scheme is an outright “arrange.” And every Nigerian should reject this attempt at deception and cover-up. Let’s even look at the entire racket which smacks an outright conspiracy to undermine Nigerians’ call for a thorough accounting for all transactions in the oil swap and offshore processing deals superintended by the erstwhile minister of petroleum. It was Thisday newspapers that exclusively reported the two ongoing parallel probes and quoted Diezani Madueke as]