Alison-Madueke finally opens up on $24bn oil swap deals
Her denial was contained in a statement issued on February 23 by her spokesman, Mr. Clem Aguiyi, where she also described the statements credited to her former group managing directors, GMDs, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in respect of the ongoing legislative probe of the oil swap and OPA deals as fabricated tissues of lies.
She refuted reports alleging that she granted an “extension” instead of “Approval” for the Renewal of Contracts’ for the swap arrangements.
Recall that last week, Mr. Austin Oniwon, who was GMD, NNPC, from May 17, 2010 to June 12, 2012, and Mr. Andrew Yakubu, June 12, 2012, to August 2, 2014, during their appearances before the legislators alleged that Alison-Madueke had granted them approvals for contracts extension.
Alison-Madueke, who is currently battling with cancer, described the latest allegation as “fabricated tissues of lies deviously concocted to sustain the escalating evil narratives against her person.”
The former minister while buttressing her stance cited the following approvals for renewal of contract: one-year term each for both Messrs Trafigura Beheer BV, and Messrs Societe Ivoirienne de Raffinage (SIR), in August 2010; two-year term in August 2011 for the same companies, and one-year term to NNPC subsidiary, Duke Oil, in January 2011.
“Two other approvals were consequently sought by the GMD, NNPC, the first of these on August 29, 2014, seeking to ratify all three aforementioned approvals, which had apparently variously expired during the course of 2013,” she said.
The former minister further explained that she approved all three “in view of the criticality of the situation. Expiry of those terms was put at December 31, 2014, following assurances to the minister that the contractual obligations of the parties to NNPC had, in fact, been fully met, despite the regrettable lapse in renewal time.” Alison-Madueke disclosed that the intervals in expiration to renewal dates were put at seven months for Duke Oil, 10 for SIR, and 12 months for Trafigura.
OPA approvals Furthermore, she added that she had given fresh approvals for Offshore Processing Agreements, OPA, on October 28, 2014, following the recommendation of the then Group Managing Director, GMD, NNPC.
She listed the approvals to include a new term of two years commencing from January 1, 2015, for Sahara Energy Resources Ltd; Aiteo Energy and Duke Oil. “NNPC strongly recommended and outlined the benefits of the OPA over the swaps and put forward the case for migration from the OPA and crude exchange (SWAP) contracts to OPAs fully. NNPC posited that the ‘experienced benefits of the OPA to the Federation’ would be much greater.
All approvals were due process-driven and were only given by the Minister, following formal statutory written requests, which contained the technical basis for the renewal and were sent to the Minister by the GMD-NNPC, as is the normal practice. NNPC had clearly requested for the approval of the Minister for ‘Renewal of the Crude Oil – Refined Products Exchange Agreement’ and ‘Renewal of Offshore Processing Agreement’ on all the various occasions outlined earlier in this press release,” Aguiyi said.
The embattled former minister spokesman added that: “Whereas, it is the Minister’s responsibility to either give or refuse ‘approval,’ it was not within her purview as Minister to draft, initiate or conclude the processes of signing the final contracts. “It is the statutory responsibility of NNPC to ensure that all technical areas are duly covered and all requisite due process parameters are duly implemented.”
The federal government was expected to make about $1.82 million per 60,000 barrels per day, bpd, against the then losses of $1.47 million being recorded by the corporation following the inception of the oil swap deal in 2009. It cannot be ascertain if all the profits from the deal were remitted to the federation account.
The Punch reports that Austin Oniwon, a former group managing director of the NNPC, on February 16 told the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on crude oil swaps headed by Zakari Mohammed that there was no formal contract between the regulator and trading companies that lifted $24 billion worth of crude oil from the country between 2011 and 2014. He said Alison-Madueke only approved the extension of an earlier contract before he left office in 2012.
Premium Times recently obtained a letter written by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption (PACC) to a United Kingdom-based anti-corruption organisation, Global Witness, soliciting assistance in raising funds. The letter revealed that inadequate funds are seriously frustrating Nigeria’s efforts to trace and recover its stolen money as well as prosecute corrupt former government officials.