One of Nigeria’s richest people, billionaire oil tycoon Femi Otedola, has owed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) $16 million, SaharaReporters has learned.
Mr. Otedola, who in 2014 was listed by Forbes magazine as Africa’s 29th richest people, with a networth of $900 million, had since 2004 owed $16 million to the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC, according to sources who exposed the debt. Mr. Otedola, who owns Zenon Oil, Forte Oil PLC as well as other businesses, accumulated the $16 million debt between 2004 and 2008.
Our sources disclosed that the debt arose from several products lifted by Mr. Otedola’s companies from the PPMC. The companies include Zenon Oil and Fineshade Energy Company Limited.
Mr. Otedola has ignored several appeals by the PPMC to pay off the debt, according to documents obtained by SaharaReporters.
“He has not responded with good faith to many appeals we have made to settle what his companies owe to the PPMC,” said one of our sources.
The source added that the agency could not pursue the debt matter aggressively because Mr. Otedola was a regular guest of former President Goodluck Jonathan at Aso Rock. In what signaled his stature as an insider within the Jonathan Presidency, Mr. Otedola received a nomination from the erstwhile president to be a member of the National Economic Council.
In June 2014, Forbes magazine reported that Mr. Otedola became richer by a whopping $398 million dollars in ninety days after the shares of Forte Oil surged 167%. He was part of a tiny group of Nigerian businessmen and women favored by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in a series of shady deals, often involving questionable transfers of public assets.