EXCLUSIVE: Lamido Sanusi Opens Up: How NNPC is Robbing Nigeria Blind

CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi

Long before his shocking letter to President Goodluck Jonathan exposing massive diversion of government oil revenues became public December 2013, Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said he did what many have accused him of failing to do: acting early as the losses escalated.

Accompanied by all of CBN’s deputy governors sometime in 2010, he said he drove to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to ask for an answer to a simple math: why Nigeria’s reserves had failed to rise in the face of unprecedented high oil prices internationally.

Mr. Sanusi said NNPC official lectured his team that the trouble arose because much of Nigeria’s oil production came from deep offshore wells; and that the Sani Abacha government had scandalously agreed with oil companies to peg such oil earnings at $10 dollar per barrel — the prevailing price at the time. The arrangement was fixed to run for 30 years.

Officials of the corporation explained that only the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, the voluminous government-sponsored oil sector reform legislation, could reverse that agreement, according to the governor.

Download Mr. Sanusi’s full memo to the Senate Committee on Finance here.

But while he obtained a legal opinion from a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, debunking that claim and demonstrating the contract can be re-negotiated without the PIB, Mr. Sanusi said he and his colleagues however shifted focus to other possible avenues of revenue leakages.

In the years that followed, they established how government fuel subsidy had been massively abused, and how the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, PPMC, had sustained a notorious racketeering in the administration of the government’s oil swap deals- an arrangement in which Nigeria gives out crude oil to foreign companies in exchange for refined product.

“By 2011, it was already clear to us that these transactions were not properly structured, monitored and audited,” the CBN governor wrote in a comprehensive submission to the Senate Finance Committee, obtained exclusively by PREMIUM TIMES.

“For example, companies in swap agreements with PPMC would lift crude oil for free, sell at the international market, repatriate the funds and sell at the autonomous rate, trade with the proceeds and at their own time, establish letters of credit (LCs) to import PMS using the funds purchased at the official window.”

In one shocking revelation, the PPMC signed oil swap agreements with companies with a clause allowing the destruction of vital documents after one year. Mr. Sanusi called the clause “troubling”, and said on account of that, he did not believe an ongoing, but separate attempt by the National Assembly to probe the swap deals, will yield any result.

At multiple meetings with lawmakers, the CBN governor said he raised the alarm on the findings, particularly about the subsidy fraud, long before the House of Representatives and the federal government finally, in 2012, launched investigations that proved grounding fraud in excess of N2 trillion.

But Mr. Sanusi’s biggest haul yet as part of his team’s investigation, is his allegation that the NNPC, Nigeria’s state-run oil behemoth, has for years, illegally diverted several billions of dollars of oil revenues to unknown accounts, through a systematic practice that defrauded the nation of over 70 per cent of its due oil proceeds.

The scandal, first exposed in his first letter to Mr. Jonathan, has shocked Nigerians, but has barely received sufficient action from the government.

On Tuesday, at a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee which is probing the missing funds, Mr. Sanusi revised his earlier claim that nearly $50 billion was missing, and insisted that while part of that amount had been accounted for, as much as $20 billion (N3.3 trillion) – more than half of Nigeria’s entire budget this year- remains unaccounted for.

The ministry of finance and the NNPC claim unreconciled amount stands at $10.8 billion, while, the NNPC claims the outstanding $10.8 billion was paid out as subsidy on kerosene and petrol, and the balance was used for pipeline maintenance.

But Mr. Sanusi’s submissions to the Senate committee, obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, offer a firm argument on why the $10.8 billion claim is untenable, and challenges the NNPC’s claim that the outstanding $10.8 billion was used as purported.

Download Mr. Sanusi’s full memo to the Senate Committee on Finance here.

Subsidy fraud

While the government, as well as the CBN, have admitted the total crude oil lifting from January 2012 to June 2013, stood at $67 billion, Mr. Sanusi said only $47 billion of that amount was paid into government coffers.

According to the CBN, the $67 billion is made up of $14 billion for the Federation; $15 billion for the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS; $2 billion for the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR; $28 billion for Domestic Crude; $2 billion for Third Party financing; and $2 billion for the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC.

Of that total, the CBN said only $47 billion had been paid into the government’s account, leaving a balance of $20 billion.

Mr. Sanusi said the NNPC’s claim that 80 percent of the $10.8 billion was incurred on petrol and kerosene subsidy should not be accepted since a presidential directive had in 2009 barred payment of subsidy on kerosene.

The directive, from former President Umar Yar’adua, remained in force long after the president’s death, Mr. Sanusi said, citing a letter to him from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, in December 2010- long after Mr. Yar’adua’s death- which confirmed that the agency had “ceased to grant subsidy on HHK(kerosene) through a presidential directive since July 2009”.

“This may explain why NNPC waited till 2011 to claim its ‘arrears’ for 2009-2011,” Mr. Sanusi wrote. “So the first question here is: on what basis did NNPC pay itself billions of dollars as ‘subsidy’ for kerosene, in view of this directive.”

On petrol subsidy, the CBN governor said documents showed the NNPC did not make any deductions from the domestic crude sales for subsidy payment between April 2012 and 2013. In the document attached as appendix, the row showing “adjustment for subsidy” consistently shows “NIL” within the period.

Mr. Sanusi said there are two possibilities here: either the NNPC was lying to the government that it was not making deductions, or it is now lying that is made when it never did.

“Either way, this shows we cannot trust NNPC or its management to tell us the truth,” he said.

Phoney companies sharing the booty

Part of the missing $20 billion, is a $6 billion worth of crude which the NNPC said it lifted on behalf of the NPDC, the upstream operating arm of the NNPC. Mr. Sanusi said the amount involved should constitutionally belong to the federation account by has been methodically diverted into private hands.

The two companies involved are Seven Energy and Atlantic Energy. The CBN said it found out the two companies are owned secretly by the same persons. The companies were meant to act as financial and technical partners to NPDC in respect of the development of eight oil blocks sold by Shell Petroleum to indigenous companies.

In the end, Mr. Sanusi said the bank found out the companies did not provide any funding beyond using their affiliation to the oil titles to obtain loans from Nigerian banks. But when it came to oil proceeds, they were entitled to all of the earnings, based on a fraudulent agreement the companies signed with the NPDC, with the approval of the NNPC.

Mr. Sanusi said details of the entire transaction has remained secretive, and no one exactly knows how much the companies make. But earnings that go the private companies should ordinarily belong to the government.

In the voluminous submissions, Mr. Sanusi said he believed his effort was already yielding results as the NNPC, which has denied for years withholding government funds, had admitted this time to the tune of $10.8 billion.

“Before I wrote my letter to the president in September, 2013, there had been several allegations against NNPC for non-remittance of funds to the federation account,” he said. “NEITI had raised the issue in its various reports. The KPMG audit ordered by Minister Aganga when he was in the finance ministry had raised the same issues.”

“The Nuhu Ribadu committee set up by Petroleum Minister Allison-Madueke also made the same claims. It is also a regular subject of dispute between NNPC and FAAC.

“NNPC dismisses all such allegations as false and spurious, and claims in fact that the federation owes it money. In a sense, we have made progress since NNPC has now for the first time acknowledged that it did not remit to the federation a sum of $10.8 billion and has gone public with an attempt to render account.”

Download Mr. Sanusi’s full memo to the Senate Committee on Finance here.


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  • sirjoka

    Keep going Sir, you have our prayers & may God protect you.

    • redeem

      Mallam Sanusi Shamed Again By House Committee On His False
      Allegation of Missing $20Billon In NNPC.–Clear as day-light that the man Sanusi is in urgent need of medical help.

      **there was nothing new in all Sanusi’s allegation from the reconciliation we heard late last year.
      **we are surprised that Sanusi had failed to understand some engineering issues. – Mr Yakubu, NNPC GMD.
      **We are concerned by the dynamics of the moving numbers as the central bank’s figures keep changing.
      **Sanusi’s claim that kerosene subsidy, we appropriates subsidy for the product every year, So NNPC was right. – Sen Ahmed Maikarfi.

      The Senate Committee on Finance at the National Assembly, those present left the venue confused after CBN Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido said the unremitted amount by NNPC now stood at $20 billion.
      The audience looked confused as Sanusi reeled out the new figure, more so after he had submitted to the committee late last year that of the $49.8 billion said to have been unremitted to the Federation Account by NNPC was cleared to $10.8b. The $10.8b has been tracked to used by NNPC for Kerosene Subsidies since 2009, Cost of operations for the Corporation and their subsidiaries.

      In his response, the committee chairman, Ahmed Maikarfi, dismissed Sanusi’s submission, saying there was nothing new in all he said.
      He also remarked that despite his claim that kerosene subsidy had stopped since 2009, the National Assembly appropriates subsidy for the product every year.
      He also asked Sanusi to wait for the ongoing reconciliation to be concluded before going any further, stating, “The bottom line is that the federation should not lose a cent, so the reconciliation must be concluded this week.”

      Earlier, the Director General of Budget Office, Bright Okogu, and Peter Schlak, who represented the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), requested one extra week from the committee to enable them conclude the reconciliation process.
      The committee acceded to the request for additional one week. Maikarfi warned them that the process must not exceed the extra week granted them and asked all the agencies to return for the hearing next Wednesday to present the output of the

  • e_orpheus

    This whole thing just stinks. The gut reaction is to retrieve all documents possible from the building and bring it down to the ground, be rid of all it’s staff, investigate and prosecute all culpable within and outside NNPC and just let the memory of NNPC be forgotten forever. But the trouble with that is whatever comes up in its place will ultimately just constitute itself into a worse principality because of the same inept national leadership that is either utterly incompetent or partakers of the immorality or both (I believe both).
    People, we have very serious issues before us and I’m not sure if sitting and waiting for polls alone will suffice. We’re going to need something very radical, not violent, but radical to right this country.

    • Abimbola

      What nonsense!!! Heads should be rolling as we speak. 20 million dollars???????? That is more than enough to transform this Nigeria. May the curse of all curses land on those involved. This is CRAZY

  • Lanre

    There is nothing, absolute nothing to Sanusi’s revelation. Nigeria is a corrupt society. With a corrupt government. The only person that does know this is someone that was born a Nigerian today. If you were born in Nigeria yesterday, you are probably living in a house with Generator or you do not have light (power) – the result of years of corruption and systemic and systematic destruction of Nigerian Infrastructure by Government Officials at the highest levels.
    Today, we have those who are called elders – Babangida, Buhari, Obasanjo, Abubakar, Danjuma, Shagari, Gowon, Shonekan. Are these people not aware of the goings on? Were they not aware when they were in office? When did corruption in Nigeria start?
    In conclusion, Nigeria is unworkable. Divide the country up into confederate regions based off of the Ekwueme Committee recommendation. I add two more regions: Middle Belt Region and a Niger-Delta Region. If you follow the money in Nigeria, you will find out that the struggle is all about oil (petro-dollars and the access to it). Nobody is genuinely serving the people of the country. A good way to start is to recognize that the Oil belongs to some people (Niger-Delta). Let them harness it the way they want.
    As a Yorubaman, I want to see Cocoa (and its derivatives) back as the mainstay of the South-West Confederate Region’s economy. As it is today, we have not started yet. We have masquerades in Abuja lying to the whole nation. About to be replaced by another set of masquerades. In the meantime, the spectators (ordinary Nigerians) continue to suffer from misrule.

    • Go 9ija

      you started well them messed up Sir

      • Lanre

        I am sure you meant “then”, not “them” in your post. Attention to detail matters. You can read my post again. I pay attention to detail. You write that I messed up. I am sure you enjoyed the first part where I repeated the boring, droning facts that Nigeria is messed up. You liked that part, the entertaining part. Just like most Nigerians, sitting down at beer parlors or engaging in trite bavardage about the woes that have befallen them. Like some masturbatory exercise. But when I suggested a solution, you did not like it. I messed up. When I challenged you to think, you did not like it. For you, I messed up.
        Look, let me tell you the truth. I am beyond the games Nigerian rulers play with you all. Jonathan (like many who ruled in the past), know you all too well. Now he is organizing a jejune National Conference because he knows a majority of Nigerians are condemned to their fate. A national conference where people will be wearing flowing robes and discussing nothing. The usual entertainment and drama. Keeping you all distracted and focused on nothing. I cannot be fooled.

    • Ayus

      Everyone says divide Nigeria. Have you been able to manage your home without complaints from wife and kids? We too talk!Too talk. If we all did our bit, we would be better off. God owns everything. He demands justice. Let everyone harness their resources and learn to love and be their brother’s keeper. The oil you see today, you may see no more. Also the billions and trillions given our attitude. Just ask; how much oil does japan have?

      • Lanre

        I will only ask you one question. Did you vote on June 12, 1993 like I did? Have you asked why the elections were annulled? Have you demanded to know why the perpetrators of that criminal act are still walking the streets free? That is only one question for you. Your reference to managing homes is irrelevant to the discussion and a digression.The people that ruined Nigeria, were they single, unmarried bachelors or spinsters? You say we talk. What do you want me to do? Carry a gun? When I can use superior ideas to convince a generality that Nigeria is headed in the wrong direction? What is your point? I give you the last word.

        • Ayus

          My Lanre, reference to homes was not a reference to you but to us all. We need to manage small to manage big. The home is the building block of society. If you get it right; then you are on a free way.
          You presumed a few things though. Whether I voted in 1993 June 12. Yes I did and defended my vote. Indeed my windscreen was broken when some of those actions caught me up on the road. Have you wandered why those who annulled it are ‘still in power?’ Its because we advance simplistic ideas. These guys are far ahead of us all. We just talk. Let me give you a test. Go and research the words of the latter day defenders of Abiola before June 12 and after June 12. Many did not vote on that day. As soon as results ‘surprised us all’ they became advocates. In their folishness, they advanced the strategy of June 12 or nothing. So the FG gave us nothing instead of Abiola since we made it a choice. Also remember that you do not need to have voted June 12 to participate in Nigeria’s future. A Child born June 13 1993 will be 21 years this year. Old enough to vote and get married too! Now the conference is here. for whatever it is worth; participate or else ‘they will give you a hairstyle that will disfigure you’. Just an appeal, lets dig deeper in our solutions to Nigeria. I am sure we can work together.

  • Ette

    Let the revelations about the huge,y corrupt NNPC continue till it is completely overhauled to serve our national interests. Please SANUSI do not let off the steam as we agree that your efforts are yielding results even though in trickles as the volume of fund NNPC has stolen, misappropriate, lost to the wicked tendencies of the IOCs of bribing NNPC officials to turn blind eyes to their evils is far more than what it has reported since its establishment. Other well meaning Nigerians should join forces with SANUSI so we can deliver ourselves from the grip of the blood sucking corrupt people in this wicked government. Nigeria will rise again.

    • Bayo


    • redeem

      el rufai and sanusi are both fulanis-and soon to be inlaws-all we ask of them is to speak the truth nothing but the truth–but sanusi who awarded contract worth over 9b to el rufai is still trying to twist fiction into facts-for the regional apologist of his in exile

  • marig

    I believe that our president should step in and demand explanations from nnpc. He should do so forcefully and publicly. Continued silence on this matter coupled with other scandals are damaging to his presidency.

    • bloggernaija

      He is the ring leader.

      • Omo Odua

        Please kindly have respect for the Office of the President, that is the most highest office in the land. Without that office, noNigeria.

        • Sword of Damocles

          Spoken as only a dumb#*s could! Now while your oral orifice is speaking without the aid of your cranial matter, pls instruct ur disgrace of a President to “kindly have respect for the Office of the Presidency” and stop the looting of Nigeria(chief security officer abi?). Respect is earned, not given like kola , and the profoundly unpatriotic behavior of this man & his acolytes is revolting & despicable. Knowledge is indeed key.

        • Naziru Adam

          Yeah the office of the President is the most high in the land. But who most abuse the office if not the president himself?

        • Tunji

          The office of the President in Nigeria does not deserve any respect. GEJ has to earn our respect. He has abuse the office in many ways that he is not qualify to be the leader of Nigeria.

      • Tunji

        I couldn’t agree more.

    • Ajayi Ifayemi

      He already stepped in. Remember he asked Sanusi to resign, abi that is not stepping in?

      • Tony

        Ha ha! Very funny.

    • Kay

      The problem with Nigeria is that they have no president!

  • Manjaro

    An eye-opener. This totally establishes the fact that NNPC is a law unto itself. Big shame if the government doesnt’t do anything to halt this blatant thievery! Kudos Malam Sanusi.

  • Timi

    Even with all this news, the stealing wont still stop. All these folks stealing should just keep proverbs 3:33 in mind and know that even if the curse doesnt come on them, it will fall on their children and further generations to come

    • Nigeria Forward

      There is only one way Nigeria to go ”Secession”, When the units are small, accountability is easy.

  • BlackieUmukoro

    What is voluminous about the PIB, that is stalling its passage. Sanusi’s new take is that the PIB is voluminous, what exactly do you want

  • esaulogbon

    I love this man…he is bold. This is a leader we need.

  • ifebuche

    This is a man who told all of us a big and unrepentant lie about 50billion USD missing for pete’s sake! That was a gross misappropriation of public trust from such a supposed learned and highly placed government official. Does this country know anything about integrity? Inasmuch as we need to look into the NNPC can we not do this properly? Should we keep gathering behind these confusionists seeking to be relevant and grasp unto power?

    • Enemona


  • Gray Cardinal

    I pray for Sanusi’s well being. Some who’ve dared to take on the oil Mafia never survived to talk about it.

  • Alex

    Why is it that this investigation came from the Central Bank? Why is the President and the EFCC not in the forefront of forcefully getting to the bottom of things in the NNPC for goodness sake?

  • Nasiru Abba


  • Jona2015

    Hey, our president for life has already ask Sanusi to go. Why is he still at CBN? SSS should step in please.

  • redeem

    Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, may have hit it big with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as his quantity surveying firm has landed a multi billion-naira contract with the apex bank.
    El-Rufai joined critics of the Federal Government shortly after he left the economic team of Ex President Olusegun Obasanjo and his exit as FCT minister.
    Sources hinted that the CBN which has disbursed over N163 Billion so far under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) sub head, has concluded plans to build another events center in Garki Abuja for a whooping sum of N84 Billion.
    El-Rufai and Partners Limited, design cost associates based in Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja landed the design contract for the center.
    The professional fee for the firm stands at 6 per cent is about N5 Billion. Besides there is no evidence that due process was followed by the CBN in the award. The total cost is a little over N94 Billion with about N10 Billion going into professional fees for surveyors, architects. It is believed in some quarters that the CBN Governor has been
    capitalizing on the liberal nature of the President to award contracts to his friends and cronies.
    Said a source, “can you imagine Sanusi awarding contracts to his friends under a General Sani Abacha or even President Musa Yar’Adua? This is only happening simply because President Goodluck Jonathan is very liberal minded, he simply allows people to get away with a lot.”
    Wikipedia captures El-Rufai and partners thus: Nasir established a Quantity Surveying and Project Management Consulting firm in 1982 with three other partners.

  • Naziru Adam

    Yes one man can make a difference! After all, I sense national unity among Nigerian from the comments I’ve read so far on this news.

  • Okey

    Yesterday, Sanusi issued a released wherein he sought to divert attention from his rash and reckless award of contracts as he winds up as CBN Governor by seeking to play up the “qualification” of one of the beneficiaries of these rash and reckless wards of contract – DERMALOG . The subject matter has got little to do with the status or capacity of DERMALOG or any Company as much as it has got to do with the gross violation of the “Sanusi Standard”
    which is both ‘the legality and propriety of a given action of agencies of govt at a given time’. This is what has come to be known as the “Sanusi Standard”. For in stance, Sanusi queried at the Senate Committee thatiIf NNPC claims it was subsidizing kerosine, “what authority does it have when the Presidency did not approve such action?”.

    Now, there is a govt agency (National Identity Management Commission,NIMC) given the madate of capturing data of Nigerians and those resident in Nigeria; secondly, the President had stopped other agencies from repeating the same exercise and in fact directed them to source their data from NIMC. Why the haste to commission DERMALOG for data capturing of only a tiny sectment of Nigerians at a mindbogling cost of N9.5Billion ? Again, he had been reported as having awarded the contract for the construction of “conference centre” at the cost
    of N98 Billion and the “architectural” design to a “quantity surveyor”, an APC stalwart, at the cost of N5 Billion. In all these, Sanusi had no recourse to the Federal Tenders Board or the Due Process office, is Sanusi a loose canon, a govt upon himself? Did the Central Bank Act render
    Sanusi irresponsible to the Due Process authority, higher offices, and the nation ? What is the moral essence of exposing the nation to a series of mindbogling contracts just on the heels of his depature ? These are the weightier issues, not the status or capacity of any Company or person he involves in these obvious rash and reckless awards. And mark you, I am using
    the “the Sanusi Standard” as my yardstick.

  • Kemi Adewale

    These are all Diesani’s deals, with the protection of Jonathan. I wonder why Ngozi is silent and working under corrupt and incompetent leadership. Shame on you Ngozi the World Bank leadership candidate!

    • Wale

      Kemi’ Shes corrupt too. actually to the core.

  • osogbo



  • redeem

    Ans: 49 billion dollars.
    Que: Is that your final answer?
    Ans: No, i will use the audience.
    Que: Alright, you have 3 lifelines.
    Ans: The audience have convinced me its 10-12 billion dollars.
    Que: Is that your final answer? You know you have not reached guarantee level and this means you can go home empty handed.
    Ans: Ok, let me use 50-50.
    Que: Its your choice, now you have one more lifeline left.
    Ans:Its 10 billion dollars, confirmed.
    Ans: Good, now am sure you will not like to change your mind, seeing that your level of confidence is at stake as well as the fact that you may leave empty handed…..
    Ans: Sorry to interject, i think i will want to use my last lifeline to be doubly sure.
    Ans: Thats right, you are indeed a smart banker.
    Ans: My friend convinced me beyond reasonable doubt that its 20 billion dollars.
    Que: Is that your final answer?
    Ans: Can the audience help me one last time before i take my leave come March or June?

  • NaijaMindOfChange

    Sanusi go ahead weather they like it or not, you have told Nigerian what they need to know.

  • M.Y.O.

    The two things destroying Nigeria today are religion and ethnicity. Ppl should wake up and discuss national issues with objective mind otherwise we will forever remain where we are. The NNPC should be investigated PERIOD! The issue that Sanusi spent some money without appropriation is purely diversionary and an attempt to cover up the issue at stake. The NNPC is the issue and we should all ask for them to account for our money transparently without sentiments. All the officers of the NNPC should proceed on a compulsory leave and submit all their international passports while a honest auditing firm should be engaged to audit the earnings of the NNPC in a transparent exercise. Ethnicity and religion has nothing to do with this issue. Nigerians should clear their head of these malaise and for once think objectively!!! If Sanusi spent money without authorisation, that is another issue entirely which warrants another investigation independent of the issue at hand and it should not be used to cover up the alleged missing money at NNPC.

  • MO

    While I think that Sanusi is one of the most outspoken proponents against ‘obvious’ corruption in Nigeria (because he has his own moral issues), I think that he should not just throw barbs every which way. From what I have read in various media, and even as rejoinders to Sanusi’s claims, the oil contracts (SAA agreements) are actually nothing new. If there is a legal document awarding a contract to a local company (I thought we were trying to empower local content, so why the hullabaloo?), and there is proof that the oil blocks were actually not ceded to them, and that they have provided funding and have proof of improved production, is it not up to the NPDC to now remit taxation to the government?

    If Sanusi were awarded a contract to provide investment for that sort of agreement as a result of his ability, would he turn it out down? Were there not more people qualified to be CBN Governor than he? There are certain other things that people look for when conducting business and it is not always about giving billion-dollar projects to ‘multinationals’ who will then take the profit out of Nigeria.