Give it to her; the former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, without doubt is an extremely smart person. However, what is not clear at all is whether her smartness is positively or negatively skewed and this remains an issue that depends solely on who is doing the definition.
It would have been a welcomed development that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and The Department of State Security (DSS) have commenced investigation on the crude oil swap deals and the Offshore Processing Agreements (OPAs) involving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and some local oil and gas companies, but for the set of people that alleged directed the two agencies on the probe.
It’s obvious that Diezani Madueke and the leadership of the NNPC and some of its strategic business units particularly the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) are trying everything possible to prevent a thorough investigation and honest forensic audit of the activities of the nation’s apex oil concern- the NNPC in the last few years. So they are setting up mock ‘probes and exoneration’ schemes to clear themselves of complicity in the massive fraud and corruption that characterised their tenure as managers of our national interests in the oil sector.
How can the person whose name has been a common denominator in almost all the allegations of fraud and corruption in the NNPC and its SBUs, be the one arranging the anti-graft agency for a probe into the alleged misdeeds? Is it not clear that the scheme is an outright “arrange.” And every Nigerian should reject this attempt at deception and cover-up.
Let’s even look at the entire racket which smacks an outright conspiracy to undermine Nigerians’ call for a thorough accounting for all transactions in the oil swap and offshore processing deals superintended by the erstwhile minister of petroleum.
It was Thisday newspapers that exclusively reported the two ongoing parallel probes and quoted Diezani Madueke as saying: “In view of the negativities and various issues raised in the media on the oil swaps/OPAs, I had written to EFCC, with the former president’s approval about four weeks ago, to look into the swap/OPAs in order to clarify the actual situation.” But as alleged, “Alison Madueke’s letter may have been seized upon by the Chairman of Forte Oil Plc., Mr Femi Otedola, who, enjoying the backing of President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, may have brought the issues to the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari who immediately asked the DSS to also look into the matter.”
As said, “In a letter dated May 18, 2015, Alison-Madueke had, with the approval of former President Goodluck Jonathan, written to the EFCC requesting that it looked into the Swaps/OPAs in order to clarify the status of crude oil allocations to the trading firms and the petroleum products that had imported into the country on behalf of NNPC’s product distribution subsidiary – Pipelines & Products Marketing Company.”
It would be recalled that Haruna Momoh, Managing director of the NNPC’s Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) recently told the House of Representatives’ Sub-committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and Justice that “The 445,000 barrels allocated to PPMC per day is not fully utilised by the local refineries. NNPC had to enter into agreements to exchange the unutilised crude oil volumes for refined products to satisfy domestic consumption through offshore processing agreement (OPA) and SWAP arrangements.
“NNPC entered into Offshore Processing Agreement (OPA) with with Messrs S.I.R. on September 1, 2010. Under the agreement, PPMC allocates 60,000 barrels of crude oil per day to S.I.R. for processing at their refinery located in Ivory Coast.
“NNPC-PPMC entered into crude oil/products exchange agreement with Messrs Trafigura Beheer B. V on September 1, 2010. PPMC allocates 60,000 barrels per of crude oil to Trafigura in exchange for the delivery of refined products.
“The crude oil refined products exchange agreement with Duke Oil Company Incorporated started on February 1, 2011. PPMC allocates 90,000 barrels of crude oil to Messrs Duke Oil in exchange for the delivery of refined products equivalent to the value of crude oil.”
“NNPC delivers two crude oil cargoes per month, representing 60,000 barrels per day in cargo size of approximately 950,000 barrels each to S.I.R. The crude oil is refined at a processing fee of $2.20 per barrel, and S.I.R. delivers the refined products (PMS and DPK) to PPMC in cargo sizes of 27,000 metric tons and 38,000 metric tons.”
Is it not curious that Diezani Madueke all these years as petroleum minster waited until the government that appointed her lost the presidential election before asking for an inquest into scandal-laden blurred transactions of her ministry in the crude oil swap deals, offshore processing arrangements, and the entire gamut of the subsidy scam? If former president Jonathan had been successful in his re-election bid, would Diezani have been bothered about getting the anti-graft agency to look into the scheme or more aptly scam? What characters of people occupy positions of responsibilities in this country and do they at all reason like the rest of us?
Even more curious is the alleged involvement of Femi Otedola, the same man of the Farouk Lawangate, in this ‘I be oil thieve, I no be thieve’ matter again? How did Otedola, as alleged, see not to talk of even intercepting and diverting a letter approved by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the EFCC? This is a very serious matter. Ofcourse this same man and Aliko were conspicuously seen with President Buhari in a widely published media photograph after their meeting few days after the presidential election.
President Buhari, as alleged, on the prompting of the “well known” businessmen asked the DSS to embark on a parallel investigation on the same case? What could have made the
President to believe that the DSS (as currently manned) is more reliable than the EFCC in this matter? Baba! Baba! Baba! Na the same people o!
Agreed that the DSS has the enabling mandate to carry out such probes under Instrument SSS 1 of 1999 made pursuant to the provisions of Section 6 of National Security Agencies (NSA) Act LFN 1990, but is it not curious that the Department should takeover an ongoing investigation from the EFCC or more aptly run a parallel probe rather than wait for the disabled anti-graft agency to finish its wuru investigation before taking up its own which would have been either to establish the EFCC’s findings or unmask cover-ups?
EFCC and DSS have suddenly gotten their swag back and are chasing crooks left right and centre. The simple reason is that their respective bosses are hoping to keep their jobs in the new dispensation as said in Warri grammar “by creating activity.”
This same bunch of EFCC and DSS leadership and officials sat in their offices and watched while Nigeria was being ripped-off for years. So how do we expect these two agencies to do a thorough job with the same leadership still in charge though under a new president who of course is yet to settle down to serious business of governance? Why these sudden rushes into this fake action? Let the new government take charge first and organise to show us its own style. These same old cooks can never give us a different taste, abi na lie?
Truth be told, neither the EFCC nor the DSS, as presently enabled, has the in-house capacity to thoroughly investigate the complex crude oil swaps and offshore processing transactions that has drained this country of billions of dollars over the years. The officials of these two agencies would only end up muddling issues and even erase crucial tracts that could have helped more serious-minded inquests into what had been going on and where our stolen monies are hidden.
The tragedy of the ongoing arrangement is that at the end of the day, the real thieves will escape with their loots while innocent people and/or the small thieves will be paraded and the agencies will celebrate that they have done a good job. Up Nigeria!
(IFEANYI IZEZE lives in Abuja and can be reached on: [email protected]; 234-8033043009)