Stolen Crude Oil: Your Allegations Are False With the Intentions To Defraud Nigeria, NNPC Fires Back
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has denied the allegations by a Mexican oil trading company SAMANO SA DE CV that the corporation had diverted and stolen 48 million barrels of crude oil valued at over $2 billion.
In a statement by NNPC lawyers, Afe Babalola and Co on Thursday, they dismissed the allegations describing it as one that intends to blackmail, intimidate, defraud and embarrass the company as well as the entire country.
The law firm explained that SAMANO first contacted officials of the Federal Government of Nigeria sometime in 2015, indicating that it had been approached by an unnamed group in the People’s Republic of China to buy 48 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil which they believed to have been stolen from Nigeria.
Alleging that this crude had been stolen and shipped to China before the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2015.
SAMANO requested that it be allowed to purchase the stolen crude after its recovery by the Federal Government and afterwards made a u-turn indicating that it was not interested in buying the said stolen crude that only obliged the Federal Government with the information to assist the President Buhari administration’s fight against corruption the lawyers added.
Full text of the statement reads;
“The attention of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been drawn to several online publications, particularly the Sahara Reporters’ publication of July 26, 2020, captioned ‘Exclusive: How Nigerian government officials, NNPC staff sold 48 million barrels of stolen crude oil, issued death threats to whistleblower,’ sponsored by SAMANO SA DE CV.
“The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is also aware of several television broadcasts and commentaries in respect of the same subject. These publications replicate the content of a recent letter forwarded to NNPC on behalf of SAMANO SA DE CV by its solicitors, Messrs Lords & Temple.
“The management of the corporation states emphatically that these publications are replete with falsehoods, offensive, gold-digging and a calculated attempt by the said SAMANO SA DE CV (SAMANO) working in concert with its local and international agents to intimidate, blackmail and extort money from the Federal Government of Nigeria and NNPC.
“Given the attention which these publications have generated, NNPC deems it necessary to make the following clarifications.
“For context, as of 2015, the daily production of crude oil in Nigeria was below 1.6 million barrels. Therefore, 48 million barrels of crude oil would have been the total production capacity of the country for a whole month. It was and remains simply impossible for one-month crude oil production for the entire country to disappear without any record or trace from the shores of the country.
“Consequently, the Federal Government terminated all communications with SAMANO as it became apparent that its claim was a hoax.
Earlier the SAMNO had accused Nigerian government officials and NNPC staff of selling about 48 million barrels of stolen Nigeria crude oil and shared the proceeds in a letter to NNPC by its law firm Messrs. Lords & Temple.
Gboyega Oyewole, SAN, who presented the letter said its client was accusing the Nigerian government officials and NNPC of reneging on an agreement to pay it 5 per cent of ‘whistleblower compensation’ for information furnished them over an oil deal.
The company had written the NNPC demanding a five per cent reward for ‘exposing’ the alleged diversion and theft of 48 million barrels of crude oil valued at over $2 billion.
It said that despite the assurances of the reward, some government and NNPC officials sold the products with the proceeds not remitted to the government’s coffers, while the the corporation also refused to pay the five per cent.