Posted by News Express | 1 October 2015 | 3,190 times
Civil Society Network against Corruption (CSNAC), a coalition of over 150 anti-corruption organisations, has urged the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged award of illegal crude oil deals carried out by the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan.
In a petition addressed to the EFCC chairman and signed by its chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, CSNAC called for the prosecution of the masterminds and beneficiaries of the contracts, stating that the deals were the peak of corruption during the administration of the former president.
Taking its lead from a publication of an online newspaper, Premium Times of September 16, 2015, the group said the report from the news medium uncovered one of the most fraudulent crude oil deals carried out by the administration of former president Jonathan, adding that allies of the president pocket billions of naira through a crude oil transportation contract which violated Nigeria’s procurement and economic regulations.
It stated: “Our estimate indicates that the contracts, which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has now admitted were unnecessary exorbitant and inappropriately awarded cost Nigeria N509.3 billion.”
The report states further that the deal later disguised as security contract and channeled through the NNPC saw two companies belonging to Idahosa Okunbor and Tunde Ayeni illegally rack up billions of naira to purportedly transport crude oil from Escravos to Warri refinery, and Bonny Island to Port Harcourt refinery by ship since 2011. The deal involved the transportation of five million barrels of crude oil monthly from drilling terminals to the refineries using ships, and circumventing direct linking pipelines, at the cost of N3,063.00 ($15.4) per barrel of crude.
“The cost of the contract was several times higher than it takes to transport crude oil through the more efficient pipelines which PPMC, a subsidiary of the NNPC operates; the cost of transporting a barrel of crude through the pipeline is a slow as N5.97. The administration continued with wanton plundering of the nation’s resources by choosing an expensive alternative to transporting crude oil which was economically unjustifiable.
“The Escravos-Warri Refinery arm of the project was conceived in 2010, shortly after Goodluck Jonathan became president. The contract kicked off properly in January 2011 and NNPC insiders say it was explained to them as a way of circumventing vandalised pipelines to keep Nigeria’s refineries amply fed with crude oil. The contract was never advertised and no competitive bidding was done, a clear violation of Nigeria’s procurement law.
“Two companies PPP Fluid Mechanics and Ocean marine Securities were awarded the job by presidential and ministerial discretion. The two companies initially got N1.1 billion monthly payment each by NNPC for a three months trial, documents sighted by Premium Times show.”
The newspaper report further states that when contacted, the NNPC spokesman Ohi Alegbe said he did not have details of the contract.
“After the former minister of petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke, got the deal approved in 2010 got Goodluck Jonathan to approve the deal, the NNPC secretly invited bids from international shipping contractors. PPP FM managed by two Israelis was handpicked for the logistics part of the job, OMS managed by Messrs. Okunbo and Ayeni was invited to handle the security aspect. OMS never bid, they were selected by a board led by Mrs. Madueke, which also had NNPC Group Managing Director at the time, Austin Oniwon, and eight others, including the legal adviser to the corporation.
“These local crude oil transportation contracts were fraught with illegalities and irregularities as was the opinion of experts in the industry. The NNPC Board had no business approving the initial contract in December 2010 because the cost exceeded their approval limit of N5 million allowed by its laws and $20million allowed by Nigeria’s procurement laws. In an attempt to regularise the contract in October 2013, the NNPC published an invitation to tender bids for the two crude oil transportation contracts in major Nigerian dailies which was later withdrawn without any official explanation,” the report said.
CSNAC said: “It is quite unfortunate and saddening that the resources of the Nigerian State could have been so plundered under the watchful eyes of the President and Commander-in -Chief, who swore to ensure the economic growth and development of Nigeria amongst other issues. In a country where millions of its citizens live below the poverty line, the high level of corruption and wanton disregard for the rules cannot be allowed to hold sway.
“CSNAC is therefore by this petition requesting that a thorough investigation be conducted into the circumstances surrounding the award of these illegal contracts and the prosecution of the masterminds and beneficiaries of these contracts that reeks of corruption at its peak. This will go a long way in deterring potential corrupt individuals who will stop at nothing in plundering the resources of this nation.”
•Photo shows Lamorde.
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