With the outgoing administration led by President Goodluck Jonathan and the continued lingering oil crisis and fallout with marketers, it has become imperative that some information about the administration make way to the media.
Recent information made available to SaharaReporters on the issue of oil and subsidy shows that the minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke has delved so much into corruption with the help of allies. Especially the Nigerian trader Aiteo, which has been criticized for unfairly exploiting its OPAs, and Atlantic Energy, which has allegedly lifted crude beyond its entitlements from the upstream SAAs. According to a Ventures Africa report, Aiteo actually purchased Shell’s Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 and not Igho Sanomi’s Talveras. Aiteo was founded by Nigerian billionaire Ben Peters, one of the rumored members of Nigeria’s oil cabal.
In an exclusive leaked report of Energy Compass made available to SaharaReporters, it was disclosed that Aiteo signed a two-year OPA in November that took effect in January to deliver products against roughly three 950,000 barrel cargoes a month.
Traders and NNPC insiders allege that by late March, Aiteo was more than 20 cargoes in arrears on the new deal. According to analysts with information gotten from Energy Compass, products shipped against January and February loadings indicated some shortfall and suggests Aiteo was casual in following contract process. For example, after loading two cargoes in January, Aiteo nominated 110,000 metric tons of dual purpose kerosene against one cargo but showed few plans to offset the other, listing only product delivery dates, with gasoline and vessels to be arranged later. The nomination data, however, was again incomplete in February, and tracking of delivery vessels shows a shortfall in February and March. While defending itself, an Aiteo spokesman contacted by Energy Compass denied the allegation arguing that contracts allow for delays of a few weeks.
Goodluck was kept in the dark … without real influence over oil sector decisions
The report revealed that under Jonathan’s administration, sizeable volumes of crude allegedly squandered through offshore processing agreements (OPAs), under which traders lift crude and deliver oil products and cash back to NNPC, as well as through strategic alliance agreements (SAAs) that paid companies in crude for helping NNPC to operate upstream assets divested by Royal Dutch Shell. The government eventually commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to audit NNPC’s finances in 2014 but declined to release the full report.
A Facebook post by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai shed a little more light on the widespread corruption in the industry.
Sanusi criticised several other schemes, all of which come under the responsibility of Allison-Madueke: Strategic Alliance Agreements between an affiliate of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Jide Omokore’s Atlantic Energy, which Sanusi said illicitly transferred NNPC revenue to private holdings; Unaudited crude oil swaps for imports of refined products handled by four local trading groups: Igho Sanomi’s Talveras, Tonye Cole’s Sahara Oil, Ben Peters’ Aiteo and Walter Wagbatsoma’s Ontario Oil and Gas together with Claude Dauphin’s Netherlands-based Trafigura; Illegal oil bunkering – running at over 250,000 barrels a day; Unaudited third-party financing claims of about $2 bn. a year.
It was further revealed that Alison-Madueke delved so deep in corruption stating that she helped herself to funds raised for his election campaigns and recycled it with help from business allies. “Goodluck was kept in the dark … without real influence over oil sector decisions,” one trader said.
With this going so deep and making investigations difficult, Buhari will have his work cut out to get to the bottom of allegations. The report suggests Buhari could dig deeper and hold more alleged perpetrators to account than his predecessors, partly because he has staked his credentials on fighting corruption and because of the major power shift, which is under way. This probably explains why Madam Diezani smuggled herself on Buhari’s flight the other day. This incident joins an endless list of allegations leveled against Alison-Madueke. From collecting vulgar amounts of cash in exchange for allocations to strategically placing certain players in the industry for her own interests, her regime has been marred by unbelievable controversy.
In its defense, Aiteo says it has discharged its obligations creditably. Also, President Goodluck Jonathan, defended the company saying that the company was selected based on its ability and capacity to perform. “The terms of this contract are clean and Aiteo has not breached any obligation in the OPA. The allegations of fronting for anyone are baseless. Aiteo will be taking necessary legal action to contest this unnecessary campaign of calumny against a legitimate business,” he said.
As Nigeria grinds to a massive halt thanks to fuel shortages and power issues, Jonathan’s silence on the nation’s suffering compared to his fiery defense of Aiteo makes us wonder who our outgoing President was serving. Certainly not the interests of the masses.