Feb. 26, 2014
Please see below twelve patently corrupt and manifestly illegal actions taken by the NNPC and the Minister of Petroleum Resources from 2011 to date, with full backing and support of President Goodluck Jonathan. It is instructive to start by noting that the allegations do not all emanate from the ‘suspended’ Governor of Central Bank Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, nor is the list exhaustive.
Under the watch of President Goodluck Jonathan and Diezani as Petroleum Minister, the Federation may have lost much more than the $20 billion that the CBN has established beyond reasonable doubt as having been diverted from the coffers of the Federal Government, 36 states and the FCT, and the 774 local governments that make up Nigeria. With each infraction, we have estimated the leakage from the Federation Account in gross violation of sections 80, 81, 82 and 162 of the Constitution.
1. THE MALABU (OPL 245) REVENUE DIVERSION SCANDAL ($1.3 BILLION)
In early 2011, the Minister of Petroleum Resources with the approval of President Jonathan, caused the proceeds of sale from OPL 245 amounting to US1.3 billion to be paid to Malabu Oil, owned by Dan Etete; in spite of the fact that a court of competent jurisdiction had ruled that the licence was validly revoked by the Obasanjo administration several years prior for want of payment of requisite consideration! This point was emphasized by a London High Court in 2012 whilst ruling against Dan Etete for the payment of brokerage fees and awarding an unprecedentedly high punitive damages in excess of US$100million.
We also have it on good authority that over half of the said proceeds, about $700million (over N100 billion) was laundered back to a few fronts of the President and the Minister? to prosecute the 2011 Presidential elections. This publicly available information has nothing to do with the Governor of Central Bank; just as it is pertinent to mention that the House of Representatives recently passed a resolution calling for the transaction to be cancelled with the proceeds being fully refunded to the public treasury!
2. FUEL SUBSIDY FRAUD ($16 BILLION or N2.6 Trillion)
Following the arbitrary removal of subsidy on ?gasoline by the President on the 1st of January, 2012 and the ensuing public uproar, hearings and investigations, it was discovered that over N2.6 trillion (as opposed to the appropriated amount of N240 billion) was corruptly and illegally siphoned from the public treasury by an agency (PPPRA) under the watch of the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
No official has lost his job for the illegal payments without appropriation. None of the private sector culprits in the fraud has been convicted as of date and here again, this publicly available incontrovertible fact has nothing to do with the Governor of Central Bank. To the contrary, the CBN governor actually stood by the Government as perhaps the only credible voice to rationalize and justify the policy behind the subsidy removal; albeit distancing himself from the underlying corruption!
3. UNLAWFUL ASSIGNMENT OF JOINT-VENTURE OIL BLOCS OWNED BY THE NNPC ON BEHALF OF THE FEDERATION
In 2010, the now rested Next Newspaper was the first to expose the corruption-laden unilateral decision of the Minister of Petroleum Resources to divert the Federal Government’s residual equity interest of 55 percent along with the appertaining operating rights in OML 30 to a private company – initially Seven Energy which metamorphosed into Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited, owned by Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore respectively; both are well-known associates of the Minister, without any transparency and due process whatsoever and in violation of Public Procurement Act 2007.
Again, this publicly available incontrovertible fact did not emanate from the now suspended Governor of Central Bank as we also have it on good authority that an agent of the Minister well-known for media deal-making offered to pay as much as US$20 million to the newspaper publisher for the story to be suppressed! The Jonathan government declared war on Next as a result, threatening advertisers with dire consequences, contributing to the death of that quality newspaper.
4. OPAQUE CRUDE OIL SWAPS INSTEAD OF ENSURING DOMESTIC REFINING ($4 BN)
Another incontrovertible fact that was first raised by the London Financial Times and more recently by President Obasanjo in his public letter of December 2013 to President Jonathan is yet another covert and corruption laden crude oil of 445,000 barrels per day that is earmarked for local refining and consumption. Given that our refineries have not operated anywhere above 25 percent of installed capacity, most of the 445,000 barrels – at least 270,000 barrels in 2013, valued at about $30 million per day are being swapped for imported refined products by a subsidiary of NNPC – Duke Oil, through four private companies all connected with the Minister and the President, and handpicked by the Minister without any due process, accountability or transparent contractual agreements.
The leakage arising from these swaps are about $30 million daily – over a $1bn annually for the period the Minister of Petroleum has chaired the NNPC board. Since crude oil prices have averaged above $100 per barrel since 2010, a significant portion of an estimated $4bn have been diverted using these swaps.
5. UNDECLARED REVENUES DIVERTED FROM FEDERATION & ADMITTED AS SPENT BY NNPC WITHOUT APPROPRIATION (BETWEEN $10.8 AND $12 BN)
Thus, the Central Bank Governor in his submission to the Senate Committee ?on Finance on the non-remittance of oil revenue to the Federation Account merely provided better and further information on items 2 to 4 above; in furtherance to his letter of September 2013 to President Jonathan on the subject. The ‘suspended’ Governor had indicated in the letter that there was a difference of US$49.8 billion between the value of crude oil exported by the NNPC and the amount repatriated into the Federation Account for the period January 2012 to July 2013.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources and senior officials of NNPC responded publicly that the shortfall was only $10.8 billion; with $8.5 billion expended on yet un-appropriated “fuel (mainly kerosene) subsidy claims” in spite of the public uproar and demonstration in 1. above, another un-appropriated $1.2 billion on management and repairs of pipelines and the balance of about $1.1 billion on “crude oil losses and holding strategic products reserves”! These explanations are merely afterthoughts and excuses for the unconstitutional diversion and expenditure of revenues belonging to 36 states, 776 local governments and the federal government.
6. PAYMENT OF UNAUTHORISED KEROSENE SUBSIDY WITHOUT APPROPRIATION ($3.5BN)
The ‘suspended’ CBN Governor disclosed and exhibited a Presidential Directive dated 9 June 2009, by the late President Yar’Adua, to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, stating clearly that existing subsidy on consumption of kerosene be eliminated because the subsidy payments by Government on kerosene do not reach the intended beneficiaries!
So far, the Petroleum Minister has not explained why the kerosene subsidy payments were continued or resumed under her watch, in spite of the directive other than claim that Presidential Directives that are not gazetted can be disregarded – a manifest falsehood and legal absurdity?! Earlier on, the NNPC had falsely claimed that the directive was never communicated to them by the then Minister Rilwanu Lukman until CBN records proved otherwise.
7. EXTRA-BUDGETARY FUEL SUBSIDY “PAYMENTS” AFTER STOPPAGE BY LEGISLATURE
Another indicative evidence that the said “fuel subsidy claim” in 5. above is not only illegal but perhaps also bogus is the fact that NNPC had consistently rendered NIL returns on fuel subsidy claims to the Federation’s Account Committee since March 2012 through to December 2013, in compliance with the law that all subsidy claims must be submitted through the PPPRA. Again, the Minister is yet to provide any logical explanation for this self-evident contradiction!
8. OIL REVENUES SHIPPED FOR NPDC BY NNPC AND DIVERTED FROM FEDERATION ($6BN)
In addition to the $10.8 billion illegal ($12bn according to CBN) if not phantom expenditure admitted by NNPC in 5 above, it also publicly admitted that the value of crude oil exports under the “Strategic Alliance Agreements” with Atlantic Energy in 3 above came to about $6 billion. ?Even so, the Governor of Central Bank showed in his submission that there are in fact 8 OMLs (4, 26, 30, 34, 38, 40, 41, 42) and NOT just one that the Minister of Petroleum Resources had covertly and unilaterally diverted to Atlantic Energy and yet another private company known as Septa Energy Nigeria Limited; which company is also owned by the duo of Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore!
What is further disturbing is that these ‘overnight oil companies’ pay no taxes because the Finance Minister granted them pioneer status thus enabling them to enjoy a five-year tax holiday! Thus, the diverted revenue from the Federation Account could well be considerably in excess of the admitted $6 billion!
9. DIVERTED OIL REVENUES FROM “THIRD PARTY FINANCING” ARRANGEMENTS ($1BN)
The Governor also provided credible evidence in support of the fact that NPDC and Atlantic Energy also lifted crude oil to the value of $1 billion as “third-party financed” over and above the $6 billion ?admitted by NNPC in paragraph 8 above; which assertion is also yet to be contradicted by the Minister of Petroleum Resources!
10. UNLAWFUL DIVERSION OF OIL BLOC SALES TO COMPANIES CONNECTED TO DIEZANI ($2.8BN)
The other private sector companies that bid for and acquired Shell’s 45% equity interest in the 8 oil blocks in 8 above, that were unilaterally transferred to NPDC and indirectly to Septa and Atlantic? Energy paid a total consideration of $2.3 billion; which when grossed up for the Federation’s equity interest of 55% gives a capital value of $2.8 billion that had been diverted without any consideration whatsoever being paid! Here again, the Petroleum Minister is yet to provide any explanation for this clearly illegal action!
11. ORGANIZED THEFT OF CRUDE OIL AND PROTECTION OF BUNKERERS BY EX-MILITANTS ($12BN)
Given the pervasive concern of well-meaning people within and outside our shores on oil theft, illegal refineries and bunkering, the Central Bank Governor commissioned ?a well-known firm in the industry – Global Financial Integrity to conduct a comprehensive survey and provide a reasonable estimate of the loss to the nation.
The Report, which focused mainly on the period from 2010 to 2013 gave an estimated annual revenue loss of between US$6.5 to 12 billion! Clearly, this is an exercise that should have been conducted by the Petroleum Minister if the greater public good is of concern to her! Not only was this not done, the CBN Governor is also being vilified and persecuted instead of being commended for a worthy initiative!
12. NNPC RANKED MOST CORRUPT NATIONAL OIL COMPANY IN THE WORLD UNDER JONATHAN AND DIEZANI’S WATCH
Finally, in 2011, Transparency International conducted a global review of the activities of 44 National Oil Companies as part of its report on “Oil and Gas ?Companies Promoting Revenue Transparency”. Needless to mention that the said review has nothing whatsoever to do with the Governor of Central Bank! So, it came as no surprise that a reputable globally acclaimed corruption fighting agency ranked NNPC as number 44 out of the 44 national and global oil companies in the class; with an enviable score of zero out of a maximum of 100!
BONUS POINT: NNPC’s last audited account was in 2005; unlike the CBN whose account has been audited with clean reports by two reputable international audit firms every year up to December 2013! Thus, it is only in Nigeria that the CBN Governor? that has consistently submitted clean audited annual accounts would be suspended for “financial recklessness” whilst the Minister in charge of the least transparent agency of all the 44 national oil companies in the world, and the Finance Minister that ought to ensure revenues are not diverted continue to smile to the bank with their positions secured and guaranteed by the President!
ESTIMATED OIL REVENUE LEAKAGE FROM FEDERATION ACCOUNT: US $58 BILLION.