SPECIAL REPORT: How Diezani, her men, their deals bled Nigeria

Diezani, her men and the Deals
Diezani, her men and the Deals

On the night of Friday June 7, 2013, a pre-wedding party was in progress at the Cavalli Club – named after the renowned Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli – within the 5-star luxury Fairmont Hotel in Dubai. There was champagne in abundance and some of the performers on ground for the all-night gig included DJ Jimmy Jatt, leading comedian, Basketmouth, singer Wizkid and rapper Naeto C. It was the summer party to be at.

The next day, the wedding proper held at the JW Marriot Marquis Hotel on the same street. Most of the floors at the hotel and the nearby Mirage Palace were occupied by the over 300 guests who had flown in for the wedding from Nigeria to attend. Over 40 private jets were buzzing in and out of the United Arab Emirates with sitting governors, senators, traditional rulers, government officials, politicians and businessmen.

The entire weekend was, as tabloids will call it, awash with pomp and pageantry. The groom was Oluwatosin Omokore, first son of Olajide Omokore, a maverick oil trader; and his bride was Faiza Fari, first daughter of Abdulkadir Fari, then Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources. Encomium Magazine reported that souvenirs at the wedding rumoured to have cost an estimated $8 million (N1.2 billion using the exchange rate at the time), included the Blackberry Q10 released in January of that year, other smartphones, Bang & Olufsen luxury speakers.

In the aftermath, the then Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, acting on the recommendation of his petroleum minister and Mr. Fari’s boss, Diezani Alison-Madueke, suspended and later redeployed the father of the bride to another parastatal. His accounts were also reportedly frozen by the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. The Nation newspaper quoted an insider at the ministry at the time as saying the wedding was deemed too lavish for a civil servant to fund and that in allowing his daughter marry the son of a major player in his sector, Mr. Musa had triggered a conflict of interest.

In reality, the wedding was primarily funded by Mr. Omokore who understandably spared no cost to give his first son the gift of a good wedding. Mr. Fari, who reportedly had been a little too strict in demanding due process on some deals relating to marginal oilfields, was simply the sacrificial lamb who had to go for reportedly delaying Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s desires. He was one of many in a revolving door policy that saw five group managing directors and several permanent secretaries exit the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in the five years of Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s tenure.

Back in May 2010, the death of Umaru Musa Yar’adua precipitated the ascension of Goodluck Jonathan as Nigeria’s president. There was pressure on him from his kinsmen and others within the enclave of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to run for the 2011 elections. It was only expedient to turn to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, a major source of election funding for incumbents since the return of democracy in 1999.

To ensure a smooth process, Rilwanu Lukman, the incumbent minister who favoured a restructuring of NNPC into a full commercial entity, was replaced with Diezani Alison-Madueke in a cabinet reshuffle. Mrs. Alison-Madueke eventually became like an unofficial prime minister. From then till May 2015 when the Muhammadu Buhari presidency took over; anyone that stood in her way was removed either by her personally or the presidency acting on her recommendations.

In an era where Nigeria earned over N39.5 trillion from oil and the commodity price peaked at $112 per barrel, it was the best of times to have the listening ears of the president and the discretionary powers of an oil minister as enshrined in the Petroleum Act of 1969. In that five-year period, Mrs. Alison-Madueke, whose name means ‘look before you leap’ in her native Ijaw, leapt to unbelievable levels of influence and the accompanying affluence.

DIEZANI’S CHILDHOOD

Diezani cartoonBorn Diezani Kogbeni Agama in the city of Port Harcourt two months after Nigeria’s independence, the young girl had a decent childhood as the third of six children. Her father Frederick Agama – had a distinguished career at Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) as a management executive before retiring to become a traditional ruler of the Epie-Atissa Clan in Yenaka, Bayelsa State. Her mother, Beatrice Agama, is a retired schoolteacher. Though her parents were not as wealthy as rumoured, they lived a decent life by all standards. She grew up at the Shell residential camp in Rumuomasi, Port Harcourt and schooled in Warri, Port Harcourt and Mubi.

An intervention from her maternal grandfather N. K. Porbeni, a renowned Ijaw chief from Delta State led her to study architecture rather than the creative arts. “He travelled all the way from Warri [to the UK] to tell me in no uncertain terms that my father hadn’t spent all that money on my education for me to study Fine Art”, she said in a 2007 interview.

Mrs. Alison-Maueke began her architecture training in the UK. It is unclear why she abandoned her studies in the UK, but she later moved to the United States to do a five-year architecture course at Howard University. She graduated in 1992. Right after her graduation from Howard, she was employed by SPDC and would continue to go through the ranks, heading strategy and planning team handling its joint ventures with the NNPC. By this time, she was married to a former military governor of Imo and Enugu State, Alison Madueke.

In 2006, she was appointed Executive Director, Facilities, becoming the company’s first female Nigerian director in its entire history. Ann Pickard, the controversial American who headed Shell’s operations in Nigeria from 2005-2010 fast-tracked her from mid-level executive, singling out her and other promising young women for top roles. Perhaps Ms. Pickard, believed to have placed moles in the Nigerian government – according to US diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks – and described as “having a willingness to manipulate every available political angle to further the company’s interests”, saw a reflection of herself in the younger woman.

In July 2007, she was named Minister of Transport. Her tenure was brief and uneventful save for when she wept openly in August that year while inspecting a bad road. Between December 2008 and March 2010, she was heading the Ministry of Mines & Steel Development.

During her time in the Ministry of Mines & Steel Development, the agency funded ‘Hollywood Glamour Collection’, a new limited-edition collection of Nigerian gold and gemstone jewelry by the popular jeweler Chris Aire. The collection was unveiled at an exclusive event in Beverly Hills, California on April 7, 2010, barely hours after Mrs. Alison-Madueke had been moved to the petroleum ministry. In the months after, Mr. Aire registered new companies for the sole purpose of being awarded questionable contracts to handle crude lifting, earning over an estimated $30,000 daily.

Her royal heritage, love for jewellery, style and the finer things of life inevitably drew swift comparisons with the late Princess Diana of Great Britain. In time, friends, well-wishers and hangers-on began to call her Princess Di.

 

THE MEN

Donald Chidi AmamgboOne of these hangers-on was Donald Chidi Amamgbo, the lawyer said to have become her friend when they met at Howard. Usually described by the Nigerian press as her cousin, he hails from Imo State, not Bayelsa and runs a thriving U.S.-based legal practice, Amamgbo & Associates. In 2012, he was put on probation by the state bar of California for misconduct.

When government appointees and politicians in general assume office, friends, well-wishers, government contractors and stakeholders in their specific industry find ways to contact them through their network, sending unsolicited gifts to them and their relatives and taking out pages in the newspapers for congratulatory advertorials.

“When someone sends you a $10,000 watch here or expensive jewellery there with no favours asked, you have to call one day to say thanks and have the person visit”, said a former staff of the ministry, who asked not to be named because he still works for the government and has not been permitted to talk to the press. “Or your daughter calls from Dubai that an unknown person paid her tuition for two years and sublet an apartment for her. Can you say no? Even the Bible says it that ‘A man’s gift maketh a way for him.”

No one knows for sure which gifts came to Mrs. Alison-Madueke from some of the men at the centre of the storm in her world today. But they worked regardless because they became her close associates soon enough. There was Kola Aluko, an oil trader seeking a big break; Mr. Omokore, a businessman looking to diversify and swell his fortune. There were also folks like Benedict Peters and Walter Wagbatsoma.

Kola AlukoOne of the many billionaire conquests of supermodel Naomi Campbell, Mr. Aluko was born and bred in Lagos as one of the nine children of Akanni Aluko, a geologist and popular traditional chief in Ilesha, Osun State. His first reported stint in the oil business was in 1995, after years of wandering through the pharmaceutics and automobile industries, when he cofounded Besse Oil, an oil trading firm. By the mid-2000s, one of his serial companies, Exoro Energy International merged with a partner firm, Weatherford, to become Seven Energy. It was run by Mr. Aluko who had one per cent equity, alongside Mr. Omokore and a third man, Phillip Ihenacho.

Kogi-born Mr. Omokore, who was given the title of Elegbe of Egbe in his hometown in October 2014 for his commitment to his town, was an influential chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from state to national level. While the PDP reigned, his businesses were lavishly patronised by government.
Omokore After the 2012 flooding disaster, he donated N50 million to victims.

In February 2014, Lamido Sanusi, then governor of the central bank was suspended by Mr. Jonathan after a controversial statement about missing $20 billion in crude oil earnings.

In 2010, Shell was plagued by a lot of issues in its onshore operations. Oil spills across the Niger Delta had gotten it into a lot of legal tussles; its goodwill with the host communities had been on a decline since the days of slain environmental activist, Ken Saro Wiwa in the 1990s; militants had wreaked considerable havoc on its asset causing countless force majeures; the government was seeking to get more local marginal field operators out onshore. It has gone on a large-scale divesting spree since then. That same year, Shell fixed one of the major pipelines in the country – the 97 kilometre-long Nembe Creek Trunkline passing through 14 oil pumping stations –  for $1.1 billion. By November 2013, it was on the market.

The company went ahead then to divest its stake (45 per cent) in asset held in the joint venture partnership with NNPC which held the remainder (55 per cent) on behalf of the Nigerian government, and focus on the less ‘dramatic’ offshore fields. The divested fields were the OMLs 4, 26, 30, 34, 38, 40, 41 and 42 and Shell sold them to indigenous operators, raking in a total $2.3 billion.

Meanwhile NNPC transferred its shares to one of its many loss-making subsidiaries, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, for $1.8 billion as valued by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR. Till date, over $1.7 billion is outstanding as only $100m has been remitted to NNPC which wholly owns it.

On September 16, 2011, a Strategic Alliance Agreement, SAA, was signed between the NPDC and Septa Energy, a subsidiary of Seven Energy for OMLs 4, 38 and 41. Another SAA was signed with Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts (AEDC) Ltd for OMLs 30 and 34. These companies were registered in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands and in the United Kingdom, limiting the revenue payable to the Nigerian government in form of taxes.

The contracts were awarded by single-source procurement, in clear violation of Nigeria’s Public Procurement Act which stipulates that bids be subject to public tender and competitive. Mrs. Alison-Madueke  also contravened a guideline under the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 that mandated companies wanting to lift Nigerian crude to show records of involvement in the industry in the preceding ten years.

SAAs are usually signed between two or more companies for a number of reasons including collaborating to augment technical expertise, meet capital requirement or reduce high costs of operation. NNPC adopted this approach to meet the huge capital requirement for cash call and lack of required skill and manpower at the corporation.

According to the terms of the SAAs, the partner company provides the capital outlay required to lift crude in the asset supplied by the NPDC as well as non-refundable entry fees of $0.30 per barrel and $0.010/mcf, 70 days after the start of exploration activity. It was to recoup its investment by lifting crude. Quite interestingly, another requirement was that the collaborating firm pay a fixed sum of $350,000 per asset annually for five years to facilitate the training of NPDC staff. This came to $1.4 million per year and Atlantic Energy never paid up.

Till date, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, is pursuing Atlantic Energy to get its tax returns. And while the NNPC has moved to terminate the SAAs so it can get new partners who will pay as at when due, a court order obtained in  October 2016 by Seven Energy, may be restraining it from doing so.

“NPDC has till date paid only $100m for those eight OMLs but is still enjoying the benefits of an owner”, says Waziri Adio, executive secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) which tracks revenues accruing to government.

An alternate commercial valuation by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2015 took Shell’s divested asset into consideration and roughly estimated these eight assets to be worth $3.4 billion in total.

“NPDC brought them on as partners because they are supposed to have financial capacity and technical capacity even though the assumption is that NPDC itself has financial and technical capacity to manage the asset”, Mr. Adio explains. “These firms had neither and the same asset were used in raising the money. What stops NPDC from raising the money and hiring contractors to do this job as well?”

 

Essentially, an unnecessary medium was created to pay the SAA partners for sourcing capital which they used the national asset to raise. All of this was possible because of Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s discretionary powers.

In 2014, Mr. Sanusi told the Senate that Atlantic had lifted over $7 billion worth of oil between January 2012 and July 2013, but while the NPDC had paid $400 million as petroleum profit tax (PPT), its partner had paid nothing, flouting the PPT Act 2007.

“The profit sharing arrangement was too good to be true”, The Cable screamed in its analysis. “Under Article 10 (d) (i)-(v), the two parties were to share “profit oil” and “profit gas” in ratios of 90 per cent for NPDC to 10 per cent for Atlantic (“profit oil” and “profit gas” with regards to undepreciated costs associated to capital costs prior to execution of agreement); 40 per cent to 60 per cent (upon full recovery of development costs by Atlantic); and, thereafter, it would be 70 per cent to 30%.”

“Up to the full recovery of development costs related to the continental resources, “profit oil” was to be shared 40 per cent to 60 per cent and, thereafter, 70 per cent to 30 per cent. For the “profit gas” upon full recovery of development costs regarding non-associated gas by Atlantic, NPDC would take 30 per cent and Atlantic 70 per cent, and reverse to 30 per cent to 70 per cent thereafter. Profit gas” from the continental resources was to be shared 30 per cent to NPDC and 70 per cent to Atlantic, and thereafter, 70 per cent to NPDC and 30 per cent to Atlantic.”

“When you look at the depositions from the U.S. courts, you see that it (the SAA) was a cover for Mrs. Alison-Madueke and others to cream off things that should have come to the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, Mr Adio concludes. According to a July 2017 affidavit at a federal high court, Messrs. Aluko and Omokore owe the Nigerian government the princely sum of $1,762,338,184.40.

Curiously, the 55 per cent held by NPDC was not given to the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), the NNPC subsidiary concerned with supervising Nigeria’s joint ventures (JVs), production sharing contracts (PSCs) and services contracts (SCs). Why then did the NNPC transfer them to the NPDC, which had no capacity for exploration?

 

Back in March 1999, as former military head of state,  Abdusalami Abubakar was wrapping up his eleven-month stint in office and preparing for the transition from military to democratic rule, the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act was sent to his desk. The bill was meant to stem declining investment in the upstream sector at that point in time due to the absence of a defined fiscal structure. Nigeria had also entered PSC agreements in 1993* and did not have legal backing for the agreements it was entering.

Particularly significant was Section 16.

  • For the purpose of the efficient management of Production Sharing Contracts and joint ventures under this Decree, the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (in this Decree referred to as “NAPIMS’) shall be incorporated into a limited liability company under the Companies and Allied Matters Decree 1990, as amended.
  • Accordingly, NAPIMS shall be vested with the exploration and production properties and assets owned by the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the purposes of this Decree.

 

It was following in a tradition of governments signing controversial or hard-hitting legislations at the end of their tenure. Nineteen days to Democracy Day (May 29, 1999), the bill was signed into law; however, a single clause present in the initial version had been deleted. It was Section 16.

The amendment effectively opened the floodgates. “With that clause, JVs would have been incorporated”, said a source within the Ministry of Petroleum who requested not to be named because he does not have the permission to speak on the matter. “If they were, as opposed to the unincorporated JVs agreement we run currently, quite a few things would not be permissible. NPDC would pay its bills, crude lifted will be accounted for, recently incorporated companies will not be given such juicy OMLs to operate, cash calls will not be paid ‘mistakenly’ etc.”

“Will NPDC use shareholders’ funds to be doing rubbish?”, the source asked rhetorically. “Will an incorporated company setup to make profit be acting so silly? So many ifs.”

If the deleted clause was a loophole, the discretionary powers given to the oil minister in the Petroleum Act was a spade that helped Mrs Alison-Madueke  dig into depths previously unknown. The entire petroleum industry is controlled by the president and the minister; the former appoints the latter who is then empowered by law. Only the National Assembly could have checked her excesses, but it didn’t.

“The political pressure on petroleum ministers to finance elections has turned NNPC into petty cash machine for government”, says Bassey (last name withheld for anonymity), an industry insider. “That the minister has discretionary powers that makes things worse and that’s what we’re trying to unbundle with the PIB. Discretion can make or mar our industry but it is clear what happens in Nigeria.”

Who and what institutions dropped the ball and allowed her fully exercise those powers? “The CBN was definitely not one of them, because Mr Sanusi kept harping on the rot in the oil sector”, said Mr. Bassey. “The greatest enablers of corruption are civil servants who keep quiet or look the other way to save their jobs because of the god complex of chief executives in Nigeria. Red flags were raised only because of inter-agency collusion with banks, audit firms etc.”

“The government is one single unit”, emphasises Kola Banwo of Abuja-based Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center. “Institutions have roles but usually, with the nature of patronage and corrupt party system we operate, corruption is endemic. The NNPC has internal mechanisms and systems to prevent fraud. The relevant National Assembly Committees have oversight roles and could have prevented this. The Office of the Auditor-General could also have made some difference. The EFCC, ICPC, etc. However, these all formed part of the problem and so did nothing then. Some action from one or all of these, could have reduced if not prevented what happened during that period.”

Those in the know say it was the impunity with which Mrs. Alison-Madueke broke the rules that set her apart from those before her. There were times when she stopped receiving visitors at the office and made them come to her in the comfort of her official residence. She would keep governors waiting for hours, dodge calls from CEOs and chairpersons of multinationals, employ domestic staff on the bill of the corporation and more.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke allegedly requested kickbacks from her collaborators to approve some contracts and the infamous oil swaps which President Buhari ended in November 2015. Mr. Aluko for instance, admitted paying rent for Mrs Beatrice Agama’s luxury home in Parkwood Point, St. Edmund’s Terrace, St. John’s Wood, London, describing it as “simply gifts to a friend, given long after Atlantic had signed its deal.”

In October 2014, in the run-up to the 2015 elections, Bernard Otti a director at the NNPC was appointed deputy group managing director (Finance and Accounts), a position created entirely out of thin air. The press release justified his appointment as needed to transform NNPC into a commercially-driven entity but the truth was that he had to close some deals to secure election funding.

After Mr. Buhari’s inauguration, he ran to the UK after reportedly entering a plea bargain with the EFCC; With his help, the EFCC traced monies allocated for the Ekiti gubernatorial elections and other issues. His retirement was later announced by Mr. Kachikwu in August 2015.

Audits by both PwC and KPMG showed that the NNPC had at its discretion, spent an average of $6 billion annually from 2011 to 2013 and there were no watertight records. A similar amount had also not been remitted on a yearly basis by NNPC to the CBN.

After studying the patterns and making calculations, Mr Sanusi cried out in a September 2013 20-page memo to Mr. Jonathan that $20 billion was missing. The NNPC claimed the money had been spent on subsidy payments for kerosene and pipeline maintenance even though Mr. Yar’adua had ended the payments in July 2009. Another audit by PwC was submitted before the 2015 elections and released on April 27, 2015.

“Civil society has always suspected that there was corruption in the oil sector”, said Mr. Banwo. “When information of extravagant spending for maintain jet emerged, civil society raised alarm, called for investigations and her immediate resignation or removal, which the then president ignored. The NASS set up a committee to probe but nothing came out of it.”

“When in 2015, the then CBN Governor alleged that she was responsible for the missing  $20 Billion from the NNPC coffers, civil society also initiated a campaign for her investigation and removal. The impunity in the then government allowed her get away with the deeds.”

If Mrs. Alison-Madueke was Princess Di, then Mr Aluko, who was last seen in Porza-Lugano, Switzerland, in 2016, was The Fresh Prince. He owned a private jet and an $80 million yacht, Galactica Star; in September 2013, it was rented to Jay-Z and Beyoncé at the cost of $900,000 a week for two weeks for the latter’s 32nd birthday party. A big fan of Ayrton Senna, he is also a car racing enthusiast and placed third with a Ferrari 458 GT2 at Rome’s Vallelunga circuit in December 2012. Mr Aluko was also the owner of the eighth most expensive condo in New York, costing a mere $50 million.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit under its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative against the trio asking for the forfeiture of assets worth $144 millionproceeds from the oil contracts. Mr. Aluko remains elusive while Mr. Omokore has been arraigned in court since July 2016. Mrs. Alison-Madueke herself has been arrested even though she is yet to be tried in court. The proverbial mills of God that grind slowly, seem to at last be grinding well.

 

“She kept saying ‘when we come back’, says Mr. Bassey. “She did not think that Jonathan would lose the elections. Maybe the opaque deals would have continued till now.”

Beyond Mrs. Alison-Madueke and her oil men, perhaps the biggest fear of stakeholders in the industry is that there could be deja vu in this administration or another. As the salacious details of her time in government circulate, the loopholes that made this possible remain open. The NNPC is still devoid of political independence and total transparency. Newcomers to the party will be happy to take notes – literally.

This report was made possible by the BudgIT Media Fellowship 2017 with support from Natural Resource Governance Institute.

 


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  • MKO

    There is God ooo. This is wickedness of the highest order.Come to her home town in Bayelsa and her marital home in Umuahia and see poverty raised to the power 100.

  • Shahokaya

    When you hear the Nigerian elites shouting of marginal, restructuring and other big sounding words it was because they all want to be like Diazani. They want to be in a position to chop and chop not minding the poor state of their people. Yesterday Tompolo was shouting that his father died because of lack of medical facilities in his area, a place were both this frogged eyed rouge and Dumbo came from. Couldn’t a fraction of what they stole developed the south south?

    • Du Covenant

      My broda, the most unfortunate thing about some Nigerians is despite all these revelations, they still blame Buhari for the current mess we are all in. I have always believed the so called marginalisation cry is fake and full of insincerity. How can black people ever build a properous nation if this is how wicked they are toward fellow citizens?, very selfish, greedy and backward in all aspects of human endeavor!.

  • Peggy Whitson

    Implore and Aluko owe Nigeria about 1.7bnUSD. That’s a lot of money. Am I dreaming?

    • Julius

      No you are not dreaming. Diezani owned 50 + houses in Nigeria alone. Figure that out !

      • Peggy Whitson

        Wow!

        • Julius

          It is sickening !!

      • Peggy Whitson

        Wow!

      • Douglas Ose

        Timipre Silva owned 48 = houses in nigeria. where is he today?

    • Fair_Justice

      Ask where are those money…. They’re in UK, US, EU, Arab countries… Do you think those countries are not aware and in cohort with those criminals?

      • Peggy Whitson

        Truth is there’s corruption in those countries you named but it’s not rife like we have in Nigeria, especially during the last administration. The problem is largely with the elite who stole taxpayers money and kept it in foreign countries to promote their economies and create jobs for foreigners.

        Most of the countries where this ill-gotten money and assets are kept are honest enough to return them to Nigeria whenever it is established that they are proceeds of corruption, bribery or any shady deals. And that,for me,is the good part of money and assets recovery procedure.

  • Peggy Whitson

    Omokore and Aluko owe Nigeria about 1.7bnUSD. That’s a lot of money. Am I dreaming?

  • JasV

    Even from the name, AGAMA LIZZARD, we hould have known that she will scale high walls with her bulging eyes to steal Nigeria’s resources.

  • Buharin daji

    Infact I’m supporting Diezani let’s us hear the amount of money looted from other people that have run that ministry from Buhari to Isa Funtua to lukman Rilwan nonetheless my only grudge against her is I hear she didn’t award oil block to every Fisherman in her village that was a bad mistake instead gave all to yoruba traitors

    • Abdussalami Yaro

      Continue to hold your grudges. Do you think she has any interest in hopeless, rechecked poor people like you, living by the Rivers, with little or no fish to catch? (Please I don’t mean to hurt your sensibilities.)

      • Buharin daji

        Lmfao worthless Islamic imbecile just lucky those people in the Delta are docile if I was one of them a drop of oil won’t flow to your haramic caliphate shege banza wawa I don’t mean to insult your Almajiric sensibility

  • SayNo2Tribalism

    @Premiumtimes Good job once again for a good article can’t wait for part 2.
    This just proves what many knew already, they were simply running a criminal enterprise and with the typical Nigerian mindset (it is our time to chop) They sunk the Nigerian economy while recalculating the GDP figures. It is shameful that people can be very selfish from corrupt politicians to policemen, judges etc.

    • Chuma Anierobi

      You people make your self laughing stock. Has anyone told you how the money came about? Did the FGN owe salaries to workers or Nas members? Were the states getting their money correctly?Add up the figures being thrown about and you will find out that the country could not have functioned at all. The enemy must be careful. I stand privy to no one. If anyone has our money we must get it back provided it is proven that it is our money. Find out if they were privileged to sell oil to buyers for NNPC on $2.00 a barrel commission.

      • Ken

        They are idiots to write this rubbish

        • Tonnero

          There you Igbo go again. Can you explain to me why some Igbo think it is their job to defend these criminals even when tons of evidence has been made available? Are you aware that Omokore has refunded money? Are the US DOJ and the UK now part of APC? Of Diezani, Jide and Aluko, which one amongst them is Igbo? Don’t allow your support for a political party or a person blind you to the facts.

          • share Idea

            There is no evidence here. Remember how America and UK claimed that they was weapons on mass destruction in Iraq but the ultimate aim was to sack Saddam and that led to destruction of Iraq.

            Have you asked yourself why it is difficult for EFCC or UK or USA to charge Deziani to court? Were you not in the court when Ibori was charged to court in UK.

          • Animashaun Mariam

            Isn’t it amazing that you people are now accepting and quoting that Saddam, afterall, had no WMD? I thought, if my memory serves me right, that the whole world were in jubilation when Saddam was arrested and executed. Ho, so it’s now an accepted that it was a hoax. Pathetic!

            As for madam sweet crude, hmmm, I reserve my comments for another day. Meanwhile, I thank God that they didn’t return.

      • Tonnero

        Figures are not just being thrown around. Real assets are being seized. They are not imaginary. And, yes, the FGN borrowed to pay salaries. And, yes, states were in huge debt including some owing as much as 10 months salaries. And, yes, in 2011 alone, the Ministry of Petroleum spent N1.8 trillion for subsidy when the budget was N320b. And, yes, in the midst of all this money, the guys were owing JV cash calls of $7b. Finally, of the $20b, Iweala herself admitted that “only” $12b was unreconciled. I can understand your view. Indeed, these numbers are huge but, unfortunately, true. That is why Goodluck Jonathan’s administration perpetrated a hesit that has never been seen in our climes.

        • concernednigerian

          Stupidity.

      • Peggy Whitson

        The government at the time was already borrowing to pay salaries. Remember?

  • MilitaryPolice01

    It is sad,very very sad, and at that time, Poverty Index indicated that a significant number of Nigerians were living on less than $2 a day. Terrible.

    Thanks again PT for reporting this objectively without any partisan or political bias.

    • marc umeh

      What they did not say is that most of these criminals are non-igbo southerners.

  • Julius

    Well done PT…just straight reporting, no favour !

    • Tunsj

      Couldn’t agree more. PT has always play a role as a tough, but fair interrogator of politicians and what they do best is to hold politicians feet to the fire.

      • Julius

        True but, I question their reporting now and then jus t like I question the Nytimes and others.

        • Tunsj

          What about Wall Street Journal? I like reading the NY Times, US Today and the Washington Post. But I agree with you that sometimes, they mess up.

          • Julius

            All the same bro ..now and then.

  • Tommy Soto

    Too bad her mentor, Royal Dutch Shell is too powerful to go after and rectify this situation. Wonder if the UK, Netherlands, and Swiss governments are collaborators. Sanusi estimated that over £30 billion was missing from the NNPC accounts. Hiding that level of money with no repercussions takes some serious behind the scenes clout.

    • Ken

      This is a complete lie.

      • share Idea

        Pls never join issues with all these PHD (PULL HIM/HER DOWN). This government have tried everything against this woman and none is sticking. Can someone this administration claimed to have stolen all these money now so powerful that the government could not charge her to court?

      • PrymeFactor

        Admit it. You’re one of her hangers-on, abi?

    • share Idea

      And where is the money hidden?

      • FirecloudOFGOD

        Your friend said it “USA would know”!

        • share Idea

          And why did you Leader that claimed that claimes that Abacha never stole from the country say the money is hidden

      • Tommy Soto

        The author of this article (Eromo Egbejule) suggests tax havens which many giant multinational companies use to shield their revenue from taxes. Switzerland being a desired hiding place for money until recently.

        ” These companies were registered in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands and in the United Kingdom, limiting the revenue payable to the Nigerian government in form of taxes.”

        • share Idea

          In all these conjectures from you, you could not prove where the money is hidden.

          First you claimed opening account in tax heaven countries made it difficult for the companies to pay appropriate taxes. When Sanusi raised the alarm, did he claim that NNPC did not pay appropriate taxes to government rather he claimed that about $49B from sale of crude oil were not paid, why the sudden introduction of tax as part of the missing funds.

          In addition, to the first point, Nigerians lap onto any words that is buzzing in the world ( tax heaven). If a company that operates in Nigeria and does not keep proper records in Nigeria because of weak institutions, Nigerians believe having its branch (or registered office) in tax heaven caused us to lose appropriate tax when the real issue is that Nigeria institutions should have showed how much the company is supposed to pay as taxes but using tax heaven caused us to lose such revenue. A government that could not keep record of it citizens or people working at both Federal and state is delving into complicated world oil politics.

          As for the agreement signed by Buhari, good on paper but real intention is for deceiving the gullible. Why trying to remove a speck in someone’s eye when a big log of wood in your eye has not been removed nor attempt been made to remove same.

          Buratai was reported to have two houses in Dubai, what has Buhari done, stone silence. His SGF was accused of grass cutting abuse, what did Buhari, he deodorised it and he became clean and was allowed to be with the king. When the masses continued their outcry, charade committee was setup with all the drama that followed, no one knows the outcome.

          I can go on but just to highlight a few actions that can indeed show to even the gullible like you the real man Buhari is. Nigeria we hail thee

      • concernednigerian

        And have you bothered to find out how much has gone missing from the Kano Emirate Council since Sanusi bulldozed his way to become the Emir? If you beamed the searchlight on Sanusi’s tenure at the Central Bank would you not have seen more instances of corruption than what you have peddled about the NNPC under a non-daughter of the caliphate?

        • PrymeFactor

          I’m much more concerned with all the time and money spent to educate you and instill moral values in you…all wasted since you turned out to be a semi-literate crook.

          • concernednigerian

            Your language indicates the type of ‘moral values’ inculcated in you. Your type is hardly fit for even a zoo.

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  • Ken

    I have not seen anywhere an individual is held liable for awarding due contracts to Nigerians. Are we saying that for awarding contracts to JB, if JB makes money it would now become corruption? Why would somebody hold Diezani for giving due contracts to Jide Omokore and Kola Aluko? All these stories don’t add up. Every Minister for Petroleum gave juicy contracts to Nigerians; are we holding them for corruption because those that executed the contracts are billionaires? EFCC should face somewhere else. It has failed in this one

    • Wale

      if you award contract to JB; would you like to see the finished product; yes or no?

    • marc umeh

      You are the one failing to reason. For the award of contracts , guidelines , processes and laid down procedures MUST be followed. If you are paying attention you should see that most were violated or ignored.
      Please read the US govt. indictments. Those are corruption -free.

      • share Idea

        Which US indictment? Since when has US government started indicting Nigerian officials for following dues process in awarding contracts in Nigeria.

    • Onike24

      Thinking is not your forte is it?

    • kevenreal

      This is all fabricated lies from Tinumbu online propaganda.
      Three Yorubas are on Fobes rich list since OBJ ruled Nigeria….all of them from corruption.
      Why is this PT, SW propaganda mouth piece, so obsessed with successful women from SE/SS?
      That your women are no good is your being 80% muslim who doesn’t countenance girl’s education.

    • GusO

      Mrs. Diezani-Madueke used the contracts and contractors as fronts to enrich herself (and of course the contractors). Read the indictment in the US.

      • share Idea

        And others before her used the contract to enrich Nigeria – hypocrite

  • thusspokez

    Great report and done professionally. I should leave other people, including the tribalists and whatabout-ers to argue their corners, and instead bring the EFCC under the spotlight and ask my usual question, namely, “Where was the EFCC when all these criminal activities were going on?”.

    The answer to my rhetorical question is that that lady crook was a card carrier of the EFCC ‘Untouchable Status (EFCC-US)’. The lady crook’s corruption excesses were much discussed on the Internet at the time, but only for the EFCC to pour cold water on them. Current carriers of the EFCC-US card would include Amaechi, Tinubu, the Chief Justice of Nigeria to mention but a few. No doubt, in a few years, all will be revealed.

    • Darcy

      If Nigerians wanted actual solutions, we’d lead a campaign for EFCC and the Courts to have constitutionally guaranteed Financial independence. But we won’t. “Restructuring” is a much sweeter word.

      • thusspokez

        What do you mean by “guaranteed Financial independence”? Like give it, its own oil blocks to generate its own revenue and achieve financial independence?

        I imagine that you have not seen the EFCC Act (of Parliament) 2004 which created it. How is anyone supposed to take your comment seriously when it is based on ignorance.

  • Tony A

    Very good one PT. What baffles me is that while this woman was a minister, she never made any speech in her official engagements without reminding her audience of “the Jonathan administration zero tolerance for corruption”.
    I wonder if Ngozi Eweala did not have these facts when she put her reputation on the line, by defending the GEJ government against the missing $20 billion whistle blown by no less a person than the immediate past CBN governor Sanusi. I weep for our country when I read on this and other platforms how Nigerians defend this insane individuals who steal more money than even their 10th generations will need, while majority of Nigerians live on less than a dollar a day. If you ask me, I think Sanusi, Amaechi, Soludo and Oshiomole have all been is vindicated.
    For those of us from South-South and South-East who will go out of their way to defend this woman and the government she served in, do you realise that if they had even diverted $3 billion (just assuming) of this $20 billion or so to SS and SE, Ogoni clean up would have been completed living a balance $2 billion, this balance could have completed the 2nd Niger bridge, linked Nembe, Opobo and Bonny, Gbaramatu, Escravos and Brass to mainland by road, completed the trans Kalabari road etc..
    PLEASE LET US SUPPORT THIS GOVERNMENT AND THOSE THAT WILL COME AFTER IT, IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION BY INSISTING THAT THE FIGHT MUST GO ON NO MATTER WHO IS INVOLVED. I rest my case, God Bless Nigeria.

    • share Idea

      Keep allowing yourself to be deceived by this government and their friendly media. Charge Deziani to court if you have enough evidence or you people stop disturbing people’s peace. I will keep repeating my earlier stance – any week that passes, PT or EFCC doesn’t mention Deziani, know that Buhari is no longer in power.

      They are just using the woman case to divert the attention of the gullible.

      • musa aliyu

        Gullible like U, abi? Mtchewww!!!

      • Lakeside

        This is not about charging the corrupt woman to court. What she did is a disgrace. She has let the Ijaws and Bayelsans down. The Ijaws are some of the poorest Nigerians and the problem is from within. You understand me?

    • musa aliyu

      U have spoken well. God blesss.

    • Dawood

      And just look at who Charly Boy and Sowore are protesting…Buhari. That’s how corrupt Nigerians are. We celebrate thieves like Ibori, Saraki and Jonathan, and wish death on patriots like Buhari. The bastards attacking Buhari are well-fed, pot-bellied thieves who hide in their London mansions or hotels, and use their loot to whip up desperate Nigerians, who are ready to kill their mother so as to have a square meal. But it won’t work. No weapon fashioned against the forward march of this country shall succeed.

      • Tosin

        It’s not about individuals. Please, we are educated people, let us try and move to the next level and stop running up and down supporting one person opposing another person and still remaining in the same spot.

        The way Nigeria is today, stealing is a must. If you think Buhari’s government has not stolen more and with more horrifying consequences than the previous government, then it’s like you still need a few more cycles of suffering before you can see the light.

        • Truthman

          Do you mind them? I condemn the previous govt. I condemn the present govt. Buhari cannot see the grass growing around his feet. More money is being stolen now than has ever been stolen in the history of Nigeria. What do you think the Cabal is doing? Helping us to save the money?

    • Read your comments again and see if it makes sense. These media trials can only fly among the gullibles. These guys are corrupt. Granted. These media prosecution are nonsense. Let’s open the files on the 55 yrs of mediocre dictatorships that entrenched corruption and impunity. Ex dictators are the richest Nigerians and the landlords of hilltop mansions. We want to see trials and convictions. We are sick and tired of Buhari’s tactics of ’83 when all dick and harry were arrested on trumped changes and tried and convicted in kangaroo courts. What Buhari did to Pa Ajasin, Prof Ambrose Ali, Honorable Alex Ekwemme, Pa Onabanjo won’t be forgotten. We have Dasuki locked up without trials. Only in a BANANA REPUBLIC.

      • Tony A

        Guy,your first sentence does not tally with your whole response which agrees with me that “these guys are corrupt”. I try to stick with the issues in all my submissions here, and not quarrel with anyone as that is completely unnecessary.
        The truth is that if we support this government and those after it to fight corruption, we would gradually entrench this in our national life that someday a president who will be so mad with corruption may emerge and decide to even visit all previous governments covering the 55 years or so that you mentioned. God bless Nigeria.

        • concernednigerian

          But is this Government actually fighting corruption? Have you seen the line up of the cabinet?

    • Tosin

      I agree with the comments below that oppose your comment. Please and please, Buhari’s government is not good enough for us. As far as I’m concerned he’s fired.

  • Dan Arewa

    Those people asking for resource control should first ask the “look before you lean” were is their money. What they stole is enough to transform Niger Delta into a New Aftican-Dubai or simply a New African-paradise.

    • concernednigerian

      It is their theft and their’s only that you will see. Please try the agricultural sector. You have the land mass and the economically active population to engage in productivity so that all of us will not have to depend entirely on proceeds from petroleum.

      • Dan Arewa

        We are trying hard to clear more bushes in the North for Agticulture. In the next 5-7 years, Nigeria will feed West and North and Central Africa Insha Allah.

  • FirecloudOFGOD

    Good and detailed article.
    Pretty good, Premium Times, Thanks indeed.
    I shall copy the whole article for my file especially the questionable and vital role former military head of state, Abdusalami Abubakar played in deleting Section 16 that almost brought Nigeria to near bankruptcy state!
    What a wicked lot these people are. How callous. May God forgive them all.

    • persona

      Abubakar was among the men that later formed the party he would relinquish power to.
      He knew that their stay in power will also be funded from that enterprise they simply deleted by abolishing the decree.
      Clearly, it was a command and control military strategy that paved ways for generals to do as they will.
      The loss of the 2015 election with the pillaging that stood the test while it lasted with oil money, is something that should likewise be documented even as some state funds found their way to out-run the NNPC pivoting on the need for “less corruption”.
      Abdulsallam, would later arise to broach the so called agreement leading to the 2015 elections on how to handle GEJ after Princess Di held sway???? Its no coincidence.

      • FirecloudOFGOD

        Thanks for further shedding light on the subject. Abdulsalam is one character that has always been so elusive. He is an individual that has been largely suave and adept at operating below the radar. I can never forget the rapidity at which he inexplicably reduced the Nigerian foreign reserve from over $9 Billion dollars to under $4 Billion over a ridiculously short time, when he handed over power to OBJ. This rather sad issue of deleting a segment of the constitution to the disadvantage of the whole Nation is a new revelation for Nigerians, at least for me anyway!

        • Truthman

          Yes o. The foreign reserve was actually $12b. He whittled it down to $4b in a matter of months, telling us, ‘transition is an expensive venture!’

          • FirecloudOFGOD

            Thanks FOR THE CORRECTION!

  • zacchaeus Akinleye

    Thank you, Premium Times, for a well-crafted investigative report exposing Nigeria’s lack of internal controls and accountability in the management of its public enterprises. It is now all too obvious that NNPC top management since the 90’s is a reeking mass of unmitigated baseness.

  • Gugurus Ekpa

    This is very detailed. Well done Premium Times

  • Ferra Realman

    @Shahokaya, other big sounding words are human right, regional government, islamization, terrorists etc. Bunch of looters.

  • Tosin

    Premium Times leading the way.
    Thank God we are not alone, we are not in the dark, we shall overcome.
    Please everybody we need to fight, in whatever area of endeavour we need to fight, there is too much hunger, poverty, and waste in our streets, we need to fight because the children are suffering and the adults are suffering. We need to fight because so many people don’t even know that things are not supposed to be like this. We just need to fight. Eromo Egbejule, you are just starting, you will go far, amen.

    • thusspokez

      Premium Times leading the wayIt is doing a good job in the mediocre world of Nigerian news media. For my sin, I occasionally read the VanguardNg, and each time, I would feel dirty for doing so.

      • Tosin

        Yes, mediocre, very. It is painful to see. Now what have YOU done about it?

        • thusspokez

          You are here to contribute to a debate — no ask questions as children often do. Or perhaps, you lack the confidence to express your opinion.

  • Africa

    Wow! PT is something special. Well done for the report.

  • August January

    Unfortunately some misguided elements will still continue to blame Buhari for the economic mess we’re in today, forgetting that a destroyed economy may take a whole decade or more to repair. For example, many advanced countries are still struggling to come out of the 2008 economic woes brought upon the whole world by the Wall Street guys

  • Voice of the oppressed

    Nice report by PT, everyone can see and understand the real situation of our economy.

  • donald,the russian stooge

    dieziani …………….

    may your husband be an invalid with a limp blokos ……………..may other men “bench” before his korokoro eyes …….

    may your children die prematurely and not live to eat the “fruits” of your labour ……………. in fact,may you outlive ALL your children …………….may they die painful,slow and unsolvable deaths ………………

    lastly,may you rot in hell-fire ………………. may you not find forgiveness,redemption and salvation on the face of the earth ………..

    may your stooge and pet creek monkey,the “did well” 1 of bayelsa,the mumu_ni 2 of ijawland,the dunce of otuoke suffer the same fate ……………………………..

    thanks PT for the education ………………….