Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Planned Sale Of 4 Refineries Is A Well-Designed SCAM By Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke

The scheduled sale of Nigeria's 4 refineries next year is a well-designed scam calculated to hand over the country's premium downstream assets to associates and fronts of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is also representing the financial interests of President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to several senior officials at the ministry, four of the minister's friends have been penciled in to emerge as preferred bidders by"any means necessary"even as the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) has announced its readiness to commence the sales next year.
The"preferred" buyersis Mr. Jide Omokore, the multi-billionaire PDP figure who has received numerous juicy deals since Ms. Alison-Madueke was made Minister of Petroleum Resources by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010. Mr. Omokore is the chairman of Energy Resources Group, whose subsidiary, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, was involved in a highly scandalous operatorship take-over of the oil mining licenses (OMLs) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 2011.
Mr. Omokore, whose private jet is regularly put at the disposal of Ms. Alison-Madueke (as do jets by her other fronts and associates), famously funded an obscene wedding in Dubai for his son, Oluwatosin, last June. According to some estimates, the wedding cost corresponded $10 million.
Meanwhile Kola Aluko was involved in the controversial OML operatorship deal through his company, Septa Energy, a subsidiary of Seven Energy. While Mr. Omokore's company got oil bloc numbers 26, 30, 34, and 42, Igho Salome's Taleveras got OMLs 4, 38 and 41. In the questionable deal, Shell divested its operatorship in the OMLs. Legelly, the ownership automatically reverted to the NNPC which manages oil assets on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria. At first, the NNPC had transferred its operatorship to its exploration subsidiary, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
However, the NPDC said it did not have the financial resources to operate the OMLs. The group then organized a "strategic loan" deal with Atlantic Energy and Septa Energy to provide the funds. Pursuant to the questionable deal, Mr. Omokore and Mr. Aluko's companies were to receive crude oil allocation of over 40,000 barrels per day as "loan repayment." Interestingly, one of oil industry specialists revealed Sahara Reporters that such a deal would cost Nigerian taxpayers billions of dollars.
Some resources questioned NPDC's claim that it needed to bring in Atlantic Energy and Septa Energy to finance the production."It all had to do with the minister's financial stake," said one of them, insisting that Ms. Alison-Madueke had a reputation for tailoring oil policies to benefit her pocket.
"The same NNPC that claimed it could not secure the finances to operate the oil blocks later took out a loan of $1.6 billion to pay dubious debts owed to shady oil dealers,"another insider source disclosed, noting that the minister cannot come up with any satisfactory justification for her scandalous policy of mortgaging the country's oil assets to her friends.
The other 2 "preferred" buyers for the refineries as Talevaras, a firm owned Mr. Igho Salome, and Sahara Energy, owned by the trio of Tonye Vole, Tope Osinubi and Ade Odunsi.
Talevaras has increasingly come under the spotlight because of its sudden rise to prominence in Nigeria's business scene. The firm was recently declared the "winner" of the bid for the Afam Power Plant, despite its lack of any experience in the power sector. The Afam Power Plc was among 18 assets of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) which were put up for privatization. Initially, none of the bids received for Afam Power Plc was deemed qualified. But the government suddenly announced Taleveras as the winners of the bid.
"I can assure you that the same style will be adopted to hand over Nigeria's refineries to the minister's fronts, usually referred to as preferred buyers,"an official of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources said.
He added,"It is not a coincidence that the minister went to announce to the whole world that the refineries would be sold first quarter next year even when there were no such plans disclosed to the BPE. It should be of interest you that the BPE made its own pronouncement a week after the minister's, just to rubber-stamp it. BPE indirectly exposed her plot when it said the process would commence first quarter next year, rather than the refineries being sold first quarter next year as pronounced by her."
Sahara Energy was also indicted in a report by a Swiss non-governmental organization, the Berne Declaration.
According to the report, Nigerian oil marketing companies perpetrated widespread subsidy fraud running into several billions of dollars. What is more, the report accuses the NNPC of colluding with international oil traders to defraud Nigeria.
The document revealed that Sahara Energy, Rahamaniyya Group, Aiteo Energy Resources Limited, Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, Tridax Energy, Mezcor Limited and MRS Group had established subsidiaries, also called "letter-box" companies, in Geneva, Switzerland, with no real business activities.
What is more, the report disloses that these companies established the subsidiaries primarily for tax advantages, and also for easy access to international capital. But 4 of the companies, namely Sahara Energy, Rahamaniyya, Aiteo Energy and MRS, were investigated by the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee and cleared in a widely discredited report that culminated in the infamous $620,000 bribery scandal involving the chairman of the House probe committee, Farouk Lawan, and billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola.
via Gistactivist

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