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Keyamo Asks National Assembly To Probe Deziani, NNPC, Others

Lagos Lawyer Festus Keyamo

By Ayo Balogun, Lagos – Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo has asked the National Assembly to probe the former Minister of Petroleum, Allyson Deziani, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC, and others over reported massive fraud in the corporation regarding the crude oil swap programme and the Offshore Processing Agreements, OPAs.

Keyamo, in a letter to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on Wednesday said he was compelled to write this petition because of the recent disturbing reports in the media about the massive looting of State resources by some unscrupulous officials of the NNPC in collusion with some local companies in the oil and gas sector.

He listed the Crude Oil Swaps as an instance, saying it referred to an arrangement whereby about fifty percent of the nation’s daily quota of crude oil meant for domestic refining and consumption were given to some local companies in the oil and gas sector which then sell the products in the international market and thereafter import petroleum products, including derivatives or by-products on behalf of the NNPC and PPMC for sale and distribution in the country.

“For the records, our daily quota of crude oil for local consumption is about 445,000 barrels. This arrangement was necessitated by the inability of our local refineries to operate at their fully installed capacities which would have been able to refine all the daily domestic quota of crude oil.

“The Offshore Processing Agreements (OPAs) involved the allocation of the daily domestic quota of crude oil to some local companies in the oil and gas sector. The companies then take the crude oil to refineries outside the country, refine them into petroleum products, including derivatives or by-products, and import them into the country on behalf of the PPMC.

“The colossal fraud in both programmes have reportedly started and heightened in recent years. The frauds occur when far less quantity of petroleum products, by-products and derivatives are imported into the country by the local companies in exchange for the crude oil allocated to them by the NNPC,” he alleged.

According to Keyamo, the staggering shortfalls in the imported products were done with the active connivance, collusion and knowledge of the officials of the NNPC as the proceeds were subsequently shared between the NNPC officials and these local companies.

“In fact, it is reported that a colossal sum of about $50billion (fifty billion dollars) have been stolen by these people through these fraudulent programmes in the last few years,” he said.

He requested the National Assembly to direct the searchlight on these officials of the NNPC who are already under probe by the EFCC and DSS. He listed the names as the Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Tony Moneke; Executive Director, Commercial, PPMC, Mr. Frank Amejo; Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division, Mr. Gbenga Komolafe and former Managing Director of NPDC, and later NNPC Group Executive Director, E & P, Mr. Abiye Membere.

He also urged the National Assembly to invite the following private, local companies in the oil and gas sector in the course of their probe to assist in getting to the bottom of the whole sordid affair, which included: AITEO that is owned by Mr. Benny Peters; Sahara Energy owned by Tonye Cole, Tope Sonubi and Ade Odunsi; Ontario Oil and Gas owned by Walter Wagbatsoma and Taleveras founded by Mr. Igho Sanomi.

“It is also necessary to probe the role that may have been played by the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Allison-Madueke in this massive fraud. Even though I understand she also wrote a petition in this regard few days before leaving office, but it is not always the case that it is the person that runs first to the police station to report an incident that is the victim.

“I find it extremely curious that she waited till a few days to the end of her tenure before writing that petition. I also find it curious that she wrote a petition in respect of matters over which she had total control and in respect of which she had complete access to all the documents and personnel involved. In fact, the above-mentioned personnel were her subordinates whom she could have queried long ago if she smelt any rat. Her petition is akin to the case of a father who invites third parties to come and discipline his children,” he explained.

Keyamo urged the lawmakers in the course of their probe to ascertain whether such programmes, even if not subject to abuse, were proper and economically dexterous for “us as a nation. This is with a view to recommend whether to continue with or to scrap such programmes or to continue them with necessary alterations and checks.

“Although the reports indicate that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Department of State Services have started some discreet investigation into the issue, I am concerned that, as usual, the Nigerian people whom you represent would be perpetually kept in the dark about these investigations and their outcome. Kindly note that your investigative powers as lawmakers under section 88(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) is to “expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it”.

“The danger in not exposing these acts of corruption through open and public hearings is that even the investigators may be tempted to engage in cover-ups and under-hand dealings because of the colossal sums involved in these shady deals. Besides, the Nigerian people deserve to know why, in spite of our enormous resources, they do not have access to good health facilities, power supply, good roads, clean water and affordable housing; they deserve to know how bogus schemes such as the subject of this petition, deprive them of such basic social amenities.

“In the circumstances, I pray that you invoke your sense of duty and patriotism and your powers under section 88 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and order an open probe into this humongous perfidy in the NNPC and, at the end, strongly recommend that all those found wanting should be brought to book through the appropriate legal channels,” he added.



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