SaharaReporters has obtained a letter which reveals how Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff (COS) to President Muhammadu Buhari, is using his office in the presidency to further his personal businesses and contradict his boss’s so-called anti-corruption initiative.
The letter shows Mr. Kyari prospecting on behalf of Valiant Offshore Contractors Limited, a private business that is being fronted by the major owner of SeaWolf Oilfield Services Limited the single biggest debtor of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON).
Seawolf Limited owes First Bank of Nigeria about N160billion, as a result of which two oil rigs owned by the company have since been seized by AMCON and parked at the Lagos Marina.
Nonetheless, COS Kyari went ahead to show his hand in refining the company as a Special Purpose vehicle to immediately commence business with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) where he is a board member.
Sources knowledgeable about the deal revealed that as a result, the COS has been piling enormous pressure on AMCON to give Seawolf a clean bill of health so that it can resume business as a drilling services company with the NNPC without meeting its debt obligation to AMCON.
Seawolf is owned by Nigerian businessmen Uwamu Adolor, Okulola Remi (who is close to former President Olusegun Obasanjo), Rasheed Mahey Rafindadi, Wessels Alwyn, Odunlami Remi, Waziri Ibrahim Dahiru and Oduntan Adetunji.
But while Adolor took loans from banks and frittered them on automobiles using Seawolf, he also secretly formed a company known as Valiant Offshore Contractors Limited, a company that’s now being pushed by Mr. Kyari to get huge oil services contract from the NNPC.
In the letter obtained by SaharaReporters, it is revealed that the COS, in trying to pressure AMCON to sign off on Valiant’s worthiness to do business with the NNPC despite its terrible state of indebtedness, blames First Bank of Nigeria for giving out the loan to Seawolf.
AMCON has reportedly replied Mr. Kyari, saying Valiant could not be given a pass without paying off the debt it acquired through Seawolf.
Our source described the letter as a prime example of how Mr. Kyari has continuously abused his office to engage in corrupt activities and influence peddling right under the nose of the President.
In the past year, the COS has strategically expanded his role at the Presidential Villa, where President Buhari is known to delegate authority to his subordinates. A presidency source told SaharaReporters that the COS considers himself the alternate President of Nigeria, in most cases jumping into and standing next to President Buhari in official photographs even at high profile events, in contravention of the general protocol.
Recently Mr. Kyari ordered government ministers to report to him rather than the President, contrary to the constitution. The President, our source said, signs all memos brought to him by Mr. Kyari, without reading them.
Observers describe Mr. Kyari as one of the most evident contradictions in President Buhari’s anti-graft profile. Two months ago, SaharaReporters revealed that he was playing a prominent role in blocking an investigation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into a huge fraud by Sahara Energy.
Sources at the anti-graft agency later told SaharaReporters that officials of the government had placed a freeze order on information about the raids it had carried out on the company’s offices in Abuja and Lagos.
Our enquiries unveiled Mr. Kyari as an ally of Sahara Energy and the government official behind the efforts to muzzle that investigation.
Right after we published that story, it emerged that Mr. Kyari, in collaboration with the Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS) and the influence-peddling newspaper publisher Nduka Obaigbena, were working to hound out of office the EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu, with the objective of having him replaced with an official who would do their bidding at the agency. The agency had tied Obaigbena to Dasukigate, and compelled him to refund hundreds of millions of naira.
Our sources said Mr. Kyari accused Magu of leaking the Sahara Energy story to this website.