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Posts tagged ‘Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’

Lamentation To The Cows Of Bashan – By Izuchukwu Okeke.


By Izuchukwu Okeke

It is 9 am as I stepped finally into the long-stretched passage. It was empty; no teacher, no students; only me. I was late, quite unfortunately. The lectures start at 9 am, and it is expected everyone be in the class at least 8:55 am. And, surely, here, once it is 8:55 the lecturers all file out to the various classes. And once it is 9 am, the classes start. If you arrive a minute past 9, you are late, as I was this day.

The reality of this empty passage sent my mind back to the country I was coming from. I was not even comparing the punctuality of the academic cadre or the standard of education itself. I was thinking of the massive collapse of its essence, its availability and the poverty of its prospects.

The night before, I read it on the Internet that lecturers in the Polytechnics were still on strike. They had been before the University lecturers joined in the middle of last year and continued till early this year. University students sat through 6 months dining with the two worst devils of life: idleness and boredom. The Polytechnic lecturers took few months break and had resumed strike again. And, as it seems, politicians are busy carpeting and cross carpeting; somehow they are not interested in the rants of these distracting academic hordes. So when will the students in Polytechnic go back to class? It is not even known.

I live in Korea, and in this country education is everything. I think it is not necessary to blow anymore horn about the strength of this nation’s economy, standards of their infrastructure and quality of their living standards; all hinged on the power and value of their education system. But it is worth mentioning what I found to be the major discrepancy between these two nations. Here, psyche is the central and most respected national resource; human resources are the strength of the government, the economy and the society, which is why education is everything. Every effort is invested and legitimately dispensed at developing the individual to become a global brand, to earn the capacity to compete with his mates anywhere they are found in the globe.

This country situated on the peninsula betwixt China, North Korea and Japan squat on a total of 100,210 km sq area of land. But unfortunately 72 percent of this land is hills, plateaus and mountains. Meaning that their populations of a little over 50,000,000 people live within the remaining clusters, in relatively higher density, 501.1/km2, higher than most nations of the world. From the shackles of Japanese domination in 1950, this country has risen in leaps and bounds. Among its endearing statistics is the fact that within these decades that followed its independence South Korea economy has been transformed into a G-20 major economy and has the second highest standard of living in Asia, having an HDI of 0.909.

Yes, South Korea is Asia’s fourth largest economy and the world’s 15th (nominal) or 12th (purchasing power parity) largest economy. But Korea has no Crude Oil, Tin, Iron Ore, Gold or Diamond Mines. This economy is export-driven. South Korean corporations like Samsung and LG (ranked first and third largest mobile phone companies in the world in the first quarter of 2012 respectively) dominate world markets, among the many beautiful, yet daunting stories of their transformation.

Behind this testimony of exemplary 50 decades of industrial development is an educational and social philosophy that underscores, perfectly well, that the true wealth of a nation is not its natural resources as much as it is its human resources. And each new day as I walk towards the class in Sunkyunkwan University, I am reminded of this philosophy. And also of wholly dedicated, hard-working, cheerful teachers who can go to any length to impart knowledge to the students. How many times I pity the extent of their personal sacrifice to advance the academic goals of their students. But they all work according to this country’s educational philosophy.

The classes are fully equipped with advanced learning infrastructure. The chalkboard a long time ago had given way to a board fully equipped with Power Point presentation facility, digitalized and connected to the Internet. Our test books are online and everything we have to do is online based and of the best standards compared to anywhere in the world.

Here, sadly, a 60 mark/grade after an exam is just a pass! Not even a credit. So any score less than 70, you have to go through a review to step you up and you have to write an exam to prove the review produced the expected result. And this and other factors have driven this nation from the brinks of poverty to industrial heights.

But, somehow, as I entered the class with these thoughts, I began, once again, to nurse that deep gorge of guilt that comes to me when I remember my country, Nigeria. That feeling also comes along with a certain gnawing pain of the advanced nature of ignorance spawned by our system on both the leaders and the lead that seems to suggest nothing will change soon. Since I was born the story has always been that the situation is bad for the common man. It had gone from worse, to worst, until there is no relative adverb to describe the situation now.

I did not cause Nigeria’s problem. I did not steal anybody’s money to be here. My father until his demise was a poor village farmer. My mother is still living off her labour in the farm. I am only a fortunate candidate of a scholarship programme. But this feeling when it comes doesn’t leave me soon. It keeps digging deep hole on my moral fibre. I keep wondering if there is a way I may have contributed to making Nigeria what it is. Leaving over 70 percent of her human population disillusioned and gasping for life, not knowing how and from which source the next meal will come. Seeking miracle in anything mentioned to possess divine power.

I was also keep wondering how Nigerian students abroad whose parents are part and parcel of this system that created the rot feel. How do they feel knowing their parents have left many of the nation’s youths disoriented and confused? How do they feel when their parents pay so much for them to study in this kind of environment, and knowing that this money, by every legitimate standards their parents cannot earn it? How do they feel when they remember that having messed up the system and exported them abroad to acquire the best education their parents left the system back home in total pell-mell. How do they feel to learn that their mates down in the villages are giving up legitimate endeavors and making career prospects in kidnapping and robbery? How do they really feel? Worse than I do? Or maybe they do not feel anything at all?

In the last one-month a drama has been playing out between the Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi on the one hand and Ministries of Finance, Petroleum and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, on the other. As it were the whole nation focused on it, because of the whopping amount of money involved. And as that drama played out, the reality of the hopelessness of the Nigerian situation dawned so much on me. That drama defines us in the mean time. Nobody in Nigeria’s governance system has an alternative thinking—or may be just a tiny minority of wayward thinkers who do not even possess the gut and grit to make it to the positions of governance.

To many of them there now at the corridors of power, be it political or bureaucratic, all they want is money. Everyone is talking money, oil money; how it is stolen, how it is not stolen! No one else is thinking. To Nigeria and Nigerians this oil money is everything. You have it, you have everything, you don’t have it, and you don’t have anything. That charade at the House of Assembly also defines the 2015 and the slapsticks of cross-carpeting that have become a daily news menu. Because everybody, everybody politician, wants to place himself at the vantage position to have a bite of the piece of the cake come 2015. They have been eating, and they want to keep eating.

Google, two regular guys’ idea is about to worth more than our oil. The Facebook founder is just 24 years old. But where are Nigerian youths? Is anybody concerned at the mess we left him or her? Of the frustration we are building up among them? Just education! Give them education, a qualitative one, so that they can on their own change their world, compete with their fellows elsewhere. No! Nigerian politicians do not see the resource in the youth. They are only tools used and dumped during elections.

In this generation Nigerian leaders are wired in pursuit of oil blocks and loots because in our clime ideas do not sell and if ideas sell, regular guys will become threats to Nigerian politicians. May be that is the fear. Because I do not see the big deal in investing 30 percent of our resources in revamping the educational system, and establishing it on the best standards and employ it to eliminate this endemic poverty in our clime.

As I sit in the class this day carrying this feeling and thinking these thoughts, the pain gnaws even harder that nothing will change. What will I write more than have been written these years, and what will I say that that has not been said? Like Amos in the bible called their likes, they are cows of Bashan. But we will keep lamenting to their ears. Even when they refuse to change, heaven will bear witness that we told them, as our fathers did.

Izuchukwu Okeke Job
KGSP Scholar
Sungkyunkwan University
Suwon, South Korea

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Borrowed Status: Nigeria without oil thefts, what of Nigeria without oil at all?.


oil-theft-4-

It is obvious the Nigerian economy is in a precarious situation.  Is it anything new? Even oil theft, and the unclear accounts of oil  receipts, coupled with corruption that are speedily draining resources  available to governments, are not new.
Nigerians do not need a warning from outsiders to know that an  economy founded on one product, the proceeds of which are wantonly  stolen, is doomed. Years of contemplating what to do with the economy  has not thrown up solutions that governments are willing to implement.  Every government’s interest is limited to resources it immediately needs  for its projects, most of which are short-term.
A May 2013 World Bank’s Nigeria Economic Report noted that, “Despite  the recovery in oil prices, Nigeria expanded its fiscal stimulus  significantly, increasing consolidated spending by an estimated 2.5 per  cent of Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and drawing down the remaining  balance of the Excess Crude Account at the same time that many other oil  exporters were building back their reserves.”
Nigerians see it differently. While the World Bank worries about  Nigeria’s ability to meet its international obligations, Nigerians are  bothered that their country has no plans to create an economy away from  oil. All the talks about diversifying the economy, some dating more than  40 years, have remained talks, recycled the same way they recycle  politicians for appointments, some dating almost that far back.
The saddest aspect of the patch Nigeria is passing through is that  once oil revenues climb to levels that can fund budgets, managers of the  economy would happily return to their spending sprees.
Oil accounting for 95 per cent of exports and 75 per cent of  consolidated budgetary revenues in Nigeria, is a bigger danger than the  volatility of oil prices and thieves who are exploiting weaknesses in  the oil production chain.
The end of oil theft, which some see as the elixir to the economy,  misses the point again about the importance of the future. Stable oil  prices serve the West’s interests. A stable Nigerian economy, with a  broad manufacturing base to serve Nigerians would not benefit from the  West’s help, which wants Nigeria to be a net importer.
Nigerian authorities should be planning an economy above oil thefts.  The only way that would be possible is by diversifying the economy. Oil  would still be useful by providing the resources to redirect the  economy.
The current practice of consuming all the money the country makes  each budget season is another version of oil theft. Indifference to the  future is new slavery awaiting Nigerians. Our governments owe us a  responsibility to rescue Nigerians from that blight instead of rejoicing  that oil theft is ending.
by: Vanguard

Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigerians Yawn Over Missing Billions By Okey Ndibe.


 

Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

On December 9 and 10, several websites and newspapers published a startling letter that Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had written to President Goodluck Jonathan. In the letter, Mr. Sanusi alerted the president that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had failed to remit $49.8 billion in crude oil revenues into the federation account at the Central Bank.
The letter provoked verbal bedlam. The NNPC claimed that the country’s chief banker was ignorant on matters of oil earnings and remittances. It also accused Mr. Sanusi of Nigeria’s version of the capital sin: playing politics.

A week later, Mr. Sanusi appeared before the National Assembly along with Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke. The three announced that their officials had been in marathon meetings to “reconcile” accounts. The Central Bank chief regretted his astonishing estimate of nearly $50 billion as missing remittances. The figure yet to be accounted for by the “reconcilers,” he announced, was $12 billion. Ms. Okonjo-Iweala interjected that the figure was $10.8 billion.

Nigerians, initially irate that somebody may have pocketed $50 billion, were exceedingly delighted to learn that they were out only $12 billion (according to Sanusi) or approximately $11 billion (by Okonjo-Iweala’s calculation). And since many—perhaps most—Nigerians don’t bother to get worked up over any sum smaller than $50 billion, there was a collective yawn throughout the country.

Some Nigerians heaped abuses on Mr. Sanusi for inflating the missing funds to $50 billion. What was the man up to? Perhaps, he sought to shock us into momentarily raising our faces from our piping hot bowls of goat meat pepper soup and chilled bottles of Star lager to pay attention. Perhaps he plotted to compel us, even if for a fleeting moment, to abandon our obsession with English and Euro soccer leagues long enough to carry placards in protest. No question, the banker was out to play with our minds, to mess up our routines, to ginger us into unfamiliar modes of reaction.

Forget the NNPC’s charge that Mr. Sanusi was Mr. Unpatriotic, politicking. With his tenure at the Central Bank due to expire in May, 2014, perhaps the banker was simply rehearsing for a new role as a street dramatist. Perhaps his leaked letter represented an audacious attempt at a tragic production, with a cast of outraged Nigerians filling the streets with their rage, confronted by soldiers armed with the stoutest weaponry for crowd-pacification and a fanatical determination to defend the divine-favored looting class against any silly moves by the rude, wretched, demon-possessed masses.

At any rate, whatever were his designs, Mr. Sanusi failed woefully. He found out, in the most humiliating way, that Nigerians don’t even wake up for $12 billion. And when, according to the General Overseer of the Ministry of Finance, the missing or “unreconciled” funds amount to a mere $10.8 billion, forget it! It’s a mere fraction of what we permit our president, governors, legis-looters, ministers, commissioners, and sundry political aides to rake away in salaries and allowances as well as soirees in different foreign cities.

But seriously! Why are we so blest? What combination of factors has rendered Nigerians this apathetic, this nonchalant, this indifferent to their degraded condition? In a space where most so-called citizens exist in animal-level states, a country with no healthcare to speak of, a vast toilet of a country where millions defecate in the open, where highways are accident traps, where all public universities were just shut down for five months, where electric power remains ever epileptic, where unemployment rates are so high nobody bothers anymore to keep tabs, where insecurity reigns and kidnappers rule, where prisons are chockfull with petty criminals (but with no election rigger or big-time embezzler in sight), where the minimum wage can hardly buy a goat, where trash is piled up on major city streets and burned—why is it that, in this veritable hell of an address on earth, Nigerians scoff at $11 billion? Why do we treat $12 billion as if it were chump change, a poor widow’s lunch budget? My prediction is that we’ve heard the last about the “unreconciled” 10 or so billion dollars.

Why, I wonder, have we gone back to sleep, gone back to quaffing our beer and savoring our pepper soups, because Mr. Sanusi had admitted that we’re missing not $50 billion but (a mere) $12 billion? Nigerians shout themselves hoarse over the fortunes or misfortunes of English Premier league football teams. But tell them that more than $10 billion has taken wings from their treasury and they push the snore button!

The whole NNPC financial fiasco raises several troubling questions. Mr. Sanusi’s letter to President Jonathan was dated September 25, 2013. From all accounts, Mr. Jonathan did nothing. Perhaps he was too busy figuring out the 2015 jigsaw to ask questions about the astonishing letter. Mr. Jonathan did not set up a panel to investigate, did not report the matter to the National Assembly, did not summon Ms. Alison-Madueke (who oversees the NNPC) or Ms. Okonjo-Iweala (who coordinates Nigeria’s economy) to explain things to him. It was only after the CBN governor’s letter was leaked to the press—and drew national and international media attention—that a tripartite meeting was held to reconcile the record.

And what a “reconciliation”! While many reporters and commentators focused on Mr. Sanusi’s admission that his original figure of $50 billion was hugely inflated, they conveniently ignored the fact that the still “unreconciled” sum—whether it’s $10.8 billion or $12 billion—is a huge, huge deal. The collective yawn in the face of information that such princely sum was not accounted for speaks to a deep ethical malaise in Nigeria. In most other countries, rich as well as poor, missing funds as (relatively) low as $10 million would be regarded as a big deal, triggering a thorough scrutiny. Not in Nigeria, a country where five or so civil servants were able to stash away more than $200 million from the police pension funds. And these civil servants have effectively got away with their illicit haul. Next stop for the pension fund looters: the governorship of some state, or—at minimum—a seat in the House of Reps or Senate!

Did Mr. Jonathan ever receive Mr. Sanusi’s letter. If he did, why did he not take action? If he didn’t, then has he sought to find out and fire those who conspired to keep such an explosive document from him?

Nigeria is a place where things that ought to be simple are complicated while things that should be complex are made simple. The language of the NNPC’s first reaction to the whole curious incident of the missing billions struck me as an exercise in obfuscation. The NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Andrew Yakubu, inveighed against Mr. Sanusi’s letter, characterizing it as “an attempt to ridicule NNPC staff and the management of NNPC.” Then he stated, “We will continue to keep our operations in high integrity and transparency and we are available at any point in time to reconcile numbers as we do in our operations.” Mr. Yakubu blamed the CBN governor’s letter on “a surprising lack of understanding of how revenues from crude oil sales are remitted into the Federation Account.”

That’s problematic. The remittance of crude oil earnings is Nigeria’s major source of revenue. Mr. Sanusi has headed the CBN for about four years. Why would the CBN head suddenly become ignorant of how crude oil earnings are deposited at the bank? Mr. Yakubu “explained” that “all NNPC crude oil liftings is made up of the following: Equity Crude, Royalty Oil, Tax Oil, Volume for Third Party Financing, and NPDC equity volume. It is important to stress that remittances of proceeds from the above liftings are made according to statutory and production arrangements.” And so on and so on and so on.

It’s mostly mumbo jumbo, to my ears. Here’s the bottom line: somebody who knows should tell us where those “unreconciled” billions are hiding. Whether the amount is (Okonjo-Iweala’s) $10.8 billion or (Sanusi’s) $12 billion is of little import. It will take a lot of work, a lot of money, to turn Nigeria into a habitable address, to make the lives of Nigerians a little less dire and hellish. Yes, those “unreconciled” billions can make a big difference.

My new novel, Foreign Gods, Inc., will be published on January 14. Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Major marketers back privatisation of refineries.


 

refinary

The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria has supported the move by the Federal Government to privatise the nation’s refineries, saying it is a step in the right direction.
The Secretary General, MOMAN, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, during a press briefing in Lagos on Tuesday, urged the Federal Government to ensure that the privatisation process was transparent and open to both local and international bidders with requisite technical knowhow and financial muscle to transform the ailing refineries.
He said, “I support the privatisation of the refineries and the reason is that it will bring in private sector efficiency. However, the privatisation should have some basic ingredients. Unlike the one that was done 24 hours before former President Olusegun Obasanjo left office, this one must be transparent, competitive and open to international bidders.
“It should attract not only the serious bidders that know about running refineries, but those that have the money. If you make it private, people can buy the refineries and start stripping the assets. But if you make it open, competitive and international, investors who will come will be people who are serious and have the financial muscle to turn around the refineries.”
The nation has four refineries with a combined capacity to process 445,000 barrels per day but they have been marred by sub-optimal performance over the years due to poor Turnaround Maintenance, among other factors.
The Federal Government has said it planned to privatise the refineries in the first quarter of this year.
The MOMAN secretary also condemned pipeline vandalism, saying it was a major hindrance to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s efforts at ensuring efficient supply of petroleum product in the country.
Olawore said, “If there is no vandalism, the NNPC can sufficiently meet the petrol demand of the country.  This is because the product that will fill up the pipelines alone is about 500,000 metric tonnes, which is about 500 million litres.
“Meanwhile, we need only about 40 million litres a day. If you divide 500 million litres by 40 million, you probably will get about 12 days’ stocks stored in the pipeline network.”
If not for vandalism, he said the country’s pipeline network could serve as strategic storage if functional.
He further said that a near fuel scarcity was recently averted following the payment of subsidy arrears by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Why Refineries sale approval rushed:Jonathan, Diezani cronies To “Buy” Port Harcourt Refineries.


Jonathan Diezani

Report according to Sahara Reporters has discovered that the shady plan to sell off Nigeria’s four refineries to cronies of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has reached an advanced stage, with cronies of President Goodluck Jonathan and Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke in line to snatch some of the best assets.
Our highly reliable sources revealed that Jide Omokore, a prominent member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has been penciled down to “buy” one of two refineries in Port Harcourt in what a highly reliable source described as “a rushed privatization process.” Our sources, who are in the Presidency and oil sector respectively, also disclosed that the second refinery in Port Harcourt will be sold to Benny Peters, the owner of Aiteo Energy. Mr. Peters is one of the major beneficiaries from Nigeria’s notoriously fraudulent fuel subsidy payments. A well known crony of Ms. Alison-Madueke, he is also quite close to President Jonathan.
The sources told SaharaReporters that the Warri refinery will be handed over to Igho Salome’s Televaras while the Kaduna refinery will go to Sahara Energy, an oil firm whose owners are also cronies of the Petroleum Minister.
Industry experts have questioned the Federal Government’s rush to sell the refineries when the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has not been passed by the National Assembly. The omnibus bill covers virtually every aspect of the oil industry and is currently being considered by the federal lawmakers. Various interest groups have protested and questioned several aspects of the proposed law.
“By rushing to make a pronouncement on the sale of the refineries, it does not need a genius to know that Alison-Madueke is up to something,” a source at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) told SaharaReporters. He added: “If you go to the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) today, honest officials will tell you that they are under pressure to proceed with the sale. The agenda is very clear.”
An official at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources said the major worry in the ministry was that most of those positioned toemerge as “preferred bidders” do not have any history in themanagement of refineries.
“Even though Madam (Diezani) may not listen to anybody, we believe that she should allow other players to come into the sector. All these favored guys are getting the juiciest assets in the country. The feeling we have here is that they are just fronting for her. She is basically going to sell these assets to herself. It makes sense to throw the process very open and allow new players to come in,” said the official, who added, “I am already a marked man because of the critical questions I have raised on these things.”
Last month, SaharaReporters had first exposed the scheme to hand over the national assets to friends and associates of the president and minister by any means necessary. Our sources revealed that Ms. Alison-Madueke had rigged the process to enable her cronies to emerge as the preferred bidders.
A BPE official confirmed to SaharaReporters that some of its officials were worried by the sudden haste in the privatization process, adding that the bureau was already feeling teleguided on the proposed sale.
“Under normal circumstances, and I am talking about the international standards we have adopted in this agency, the privatization would not have ended by the 2015 general election. That is if we want to do things normally. But we are being asked to sell as quickly as possible and this is certainly fishy,” the official said.
The official said, however, that he was not in support of the view that the sale of refineries should wait until the PIB is passed. He warned that “politics has already consumed the PIB and nobody knows for sure when it will be passed.”
Mr. Omokore, one of the “preferred” buyers, is a multi-billionaire PDP member who has received several lucrative deals since Ms. Alison-Madueke was made Minister of Petroleum Resources by President Jonathan in 2010. Mr. Omokore is the chairman of Energy Resources Group, whose subsidiary, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, was involved in a highly controversial operatorship take-over of theNNPC’s oil mining licenses (OMLs) in 2011.
The other two “preferred” buyers are Televaras, owned Mr. Igho Salome, and Sahara Energy, owned by Tonye Vole, Tope Osinubi and Ade Odunsi. Little is known about Mr. Benny Peters, but his company, Aiteo, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of fuel subsidy payments from Mr. Jonathan’s government.
Televaras has been under the spotlight because of its sudden rise to prominence. It recently secured the Afam Power Plant in a privatization deal, despite not having any previous experience in the power sector. A BPE source said the company was arbitrarily announced as the “winner.” The Afam Power Plc was among the 18 PHCN successor companies which were put up for sale. None of the bids received for Afam Power Plc was deemed qualified, but Televaras was curiously announced as the winning bidder.
Sahara Energy was also indicted in a report by a Swiss non-governmental organization, the Berne Declaration. The report revealed how Nigerian oil marketing companies perpetrated widespread subsidy fraud running into several billions of dollars. Titled “Swiss Traders’ Opaque Deals in Nigeria,” the Berne Declaration also accused the NNPC of colluding with international oil traders to defraud Nigeria. The Swiss report revealed that Sahara Energy, Rahamaniyya Group, Aiteo Energy Resources Limited, Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, Tridax Energy, Mezcor Limited and MRS Group had established subsidiaries, also called “letter-box” companies, in Geneva, Switzerland, with no real business activities.
The Swiss document noted that the Nigerian oil firms established the so-called subsidiaries primarily for tax advantages and also for easy access to international capital. But four of the companies, namely Sahara Energy, Rahamaniyya, Aiteo Energy and MRS, were investigated by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee and cleared in a widely discredited report that culminated in the infamous $300,000 bribery scandal involving Farouk Lawan, the chairman of the House probe committee, and billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola.
According to the Swiss report, the opaque partnership between the NNPC and some Swiss oil traders ensured that the profit generated in transactions escaped state coffers. Describing the scam as “not trivial,” the report added: “By way of example, in 2011 the amount withheld from state coffers came to $8.739 billion. The public coffers were directly penalized. The same year, the revenues from oil fell by 39 per cent against the amount budgeted. And this is despite a rise in the price of oil.”
Two weeks ago, a letter Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank of Nigeria addressed to President Jonathan was leaked to the media.
The letter alleged that the NNPC had failed to remit nearly $50 billion in crude oil earnings at the country’s bank. After a series of meetings between CBN officials as well as officials of the Finance and Petroleum Ministries, Mr. Sanusi disclosed a week ago that the amount of oil export earnings the NNPC had not accounted for now stood at $12 billion. Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala disputed his figure, asserting that the discrepancy stood at $10.8 billion. There has been no further information about the whereabouts of the missing funds.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Jonathan, Minister’s Cronies To “Buy” Port Harcourt Refineries.


By SaharaReporters, New York

SaharaReporters has discovered that the shady plan to sell off Nigeria’s four refineries to cronies of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has reached an advanced stage, with cronies of President Goodluck Jonathan and Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke in line to snatch some of the best assets.
Our highly reliable sources revealed that Jide Omokore, a prominent member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has been penciled down to “buy” one of two refineries in Port Harcourt in what a highly reliable source described as “a rushed privatization process.” Our sources, who are in the Presidency and oil sector respectively, also disclosed that the second refinery in Port Harcourt will be sold to Benny Peters, the owner of Aiteo Energy. Mr. Peters is one of the major beneficiaries from Nigeria’s notoriously fraudulent fuel subsidy payments. A well known crony of Ms. Alison-Madueke, he is also quite close to President Jonathan.

The sources told SaharaReporters that the Warri refinery will be handed over to Igho Salome’s Televaras while the Kaduna refinery will go to Sahara Energy, an oil firm whose owners are also cronies of the Petroleum Minister.

Industry experts have questioned the Federal Government’s rush to sell the refineries when the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has not been passed by the National Assembly. The omnibus bill covers virtually every aspect of the oil industry and is currently being considered by the federal lawmakers. Various interest groups have protested and questioned several aspects of the proposed law.

“By rushing to make a pronouncement on the sale of the refineries, it does not need a genius to know that Alison-Madueke is up to something,” a source at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) told SaharaReporters. He added: “If you go to the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) today, honest officials will tell you that they are under pressure to proceed with the sale. The agenda is very clear.”

An official at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources said the major worry in the ministry was that most of those positioned toemerge as “preferred bidders” do not have any history in themanagement of refineries.

“Even though Madam (Diezani) may not listen to anybody, we believe that she should allow other players to come into the sector. All these favored guys are getting the juiciest assets in the country. The feeling we have here is that they are just fronting for her. She is basically going to sell these assets to herself. It makes sense to throw the process very open and allow new players to come in,” said the official, who added, “I am already a marked man because of the critical questions I have raised on these things.”

Last month, SaharaReporters had first exposed the scheme to hand over the national assets to friends and associates of the president and minister by any means necessary. Our sources revealed that Ms. Alison-Madueke had rigged the process to enable her cronies to emerge as the preferred bidders.

A BPE official confirmed to SaharaReporters that some of its officials were worried by the sudden haste in the privatization process, adding that the bureau was already feeling teleguided on the proposed sale.

“Under normal circumstances, and I am talking about the international standards we have adopted in this agency, the privatization would not have ended by the 2015 general election. That is if we want to do things normally. But we are being asked to sell as quickly as possible and this is certainly fishy,” the official said.

The official said, however, that he was not in support of the view that the sale of refineries should wait until the PIB is passed. He warned that “politics has already consumed the PIB and nobody knows for sure when it will be passed.”

Mr. Omokore, one of the “preferred” buyers, is a multi-billionaire PDP member who has received several lucrative deals since Ms. Alison-Madueke was made Minister of Petroleum Resources by President Jonathan in 2010. Mr. Omokore is the chairman of Energy Resources Group, whose subsidiary, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, was involved in a highly  controversial  operatorship take-over of theNNPC’s oil mining licenses (OMLs) in 2011.

The other two “preferred” buyers are Televaras, owned Mr. Igho Salome, and Sahara Energy, owned by Tonye Vole, Tope Osinubi and Ade Odunsi. Little is known about Mr. Benny Peters, but his company, Aiteo, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of fuel subsidy payments from Mr. Jonathan’s government.

Televaras has been under the spotlight because of its sudden rise to prominence. It recently secured the Afam Power Plant in a privatization deal, despite not having any previous experience in the power sector. A BPE source said the company was arbitrarily announced as the “winner.” The Afam Power Plc was among the 18 PHCN successor companies which were put up for sale. None of the bids received for Afam Power Plc was deemed qualified, but Televaras was curiously announced as the winning bidder.

Sahara Energy was also indicted in a report by a Swiss non-governmental organization, the Berne Declaration. The report revealed how Nigerian oil marketing companies perpetrated widespread subsidy fraud running into several billions of dollars. Titled “Swiss Traders’ Opaque Deals in Nigeria,” the Berne Declaration also accused the NNPC of colluding with international oil traders to defraud Nigeria. The Swiss report revealed that Sahara Energy, Rahamaniyya Group, Aiteo Energy Resources Limited, Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, Tridax Energy, Mezcor Limited and MRS Group had established subsidiaries, also called “letter-box” companies, in Geneva, Switzerland, with no real business activities.

The Swiss document noted that the Nigerian oil firms established the so-called subsidiaries primarily for tax advantages and also for easy access to international capital. But four of the companies, namely Sahara Energy, Rahamaniyya, Aiteo Energy and MRS, were investigated by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee and cleared in a widely discredited report that culminated in the infamous $300,000 bribery scandal involving Farouk Lawan, the chairman of the House probe committee, and billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola.

According to the Swiss report, the opaque partnership between the NNPC and some Swiss oil traders ensured that the profit generated in transactions escaped state coffers. Describing the scam as “not trivial,” the report added: “By way of example, in 2011 the amount withheld from state coffers came to $8.739 billion. The public coffers were directly penalized. The same year, the revenues from oil fell by 39 per cent against the amount budgeted. And this is despite a rise in the price of oil.”

Two weeks ago, a letter Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank of Nigeria addressed to President Jonathan was leaked to the media.

The letter alleged that the NNPC had failed to remit nearly $50 billion in crude oil earnings at the country’s bank. After a series of meetings between CBN officials as well as officials of the Finance and Petroleum Ministries, Mr. Sanusi disclosed a week ago that the amount of oil export earnings the NNPC had not accounted for now stood at $12 billion. Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala disputed his figure, asserting that the discrepancy stood at $10.8 billion. There has been no further information about the whereabouts of the missing funds.

NNPC Fraud: CBN Governor Sanusi To Proceed On Post-Retirement Leave In March.


CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
By SaharaReporters, New York

SaharaReporters has learnt that Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, will be forced to leave his post in March, 2014, two months before the formal expiration of his tenure. Two sources at the Presidency and a source at the Central Bank told SaharaReporters that Mr. Sanusi has been ordered to proceed on a post-retirement leave in March. All three sources concluded that the early exit for the CBN henchman was occasioned by Mr. Sanusi’s recent leaked letter to President Goodluck Jonathan detailing the theft of close to $50 billion in oil proceeds by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Last week, Mr. Sanusi revised the figure of missing funds down to $12 billion, but the damage to the Jonathan Presidency is considered massive.

SaharaReporters learnt that Mr. Jonathan has concluded plans to speedily replace the CBN governor whom the president believes set out to embarrass his government. “[President] Jonathan thinks that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has been making erratic pronouncements recently calculated to demean the office of the President,” said a source in the Presidency.

Presidency officials accused the CBN governor of leaking a private letter written to President Jonathan in which Nigeria’s chief banker complained about fraud perpetrated by officials of the NNPC and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke. Ms. Alison-Madueke is extremely close to the president and is believed to be the arrowhead of Mr. Jonathan’s corrupt schemes, especially in the oil sector.

One of the sources at the Presidency told SaharaReporters that, although Mr. Sanusi’s allegations were substantially accurate, the CBN governor was forced to back down from the more damaging aspects of his claims after the president’s associates threatened to make an issue of his reckless spending and philandering. “Once Sanusi found out that the Presidency was determined to deal with him, both through the media and by instigating the EFCC to look into his spending habits, he was willing to retreat and to accept an early departure,” said our source.

Shortly after the CBN governor was effectively blackmailed and brought under control, he appeared before the Nigerian Senate and reversed his position, claiming that the NNPC was only unable to reconcile $12 billion of crude oil sale earnings.

It was shortly after Mr. Sanusi’s Senate appearance that President Jonathan ordered that the CBN governor’s retirement should be fast-tracked. Mr. Sanusi, who is believed to nurse an ambition to become the next Emir of Kano, had publicly stated that he does not intend to stay for another term.

His term as Nigeria’s Central Bank governor is due to expire in May 2014.

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