Wednesday, August 12, 2020

‘Nigerian government officials, staff did not sell 48 million barrels of stolen oil’

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has denied reports that some Nigerian government officials, NNPC staff sold 48 million barrels of stolen crude oil and issued death threats to the complainant.

The corporation denied the accusation in a statement issued on Friday and signed by Afe Babalola.

He claimed that the report was just a failed attempt by an international criminal syndicate to intimidate, extort and defraud the NNPC and the Nigerian Federal Government.

Read the full statement below:

FAILED ATTEMPT BY AN INTERNATIONAL CRIME UNION TO INTIMATE, EXCELLENT AND DEFRAUD THE NATIONAL NIGERIAN OIL CORPORATION AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA

We act as attorneys for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The attention of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been drawn to several online publications, particularly the July 26, 2020 Sahara Reporters publication titled “EXCLUSIVE: How Nigerian Government Officials, NNPC Staff They sold 48 million barrels of stolen crude oil, Issued death threats to whistleblowers, “sponsored by SAMANO SA DE CV. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is also aware of various television broadcasts and comments on the same subject. These publications They replicate the content of a recent letter sent to NNPC on behalf of SAMANO SA DE CV by its lawyers, gentlemen, and temple.

The Corporation’s Administration emphatically declares that these publications are full of falsehoods, offensives, the search for gold and a calculated attempt by said SAMANO SA DE CV (SAMANO) that works in concert with its local and international agents to intimidate, blackmail and extort money. from the Nigerian Federal Government and NNPC. Given the attention these publications have generated, NNPC considers it necessary to make the following clarifications:

ANO SAMANO first contacted Nigerian Federal Government officials sometime in 2015, stating that an unidentified group in the PRC had approached him to buy 48 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil that they believed had been stolen from Nigeria. According to SAMANO, this crude oil had been stolen and shipped to China prior to the start of President Buhari’s administration in 2015.

ANO SAMANO requested that he be allowed to buy the stolen crude after its recovery by the Federal Government.

⦁ Shortly after, SAMANO indicated that it was not interested in buying said stolen crude, since it only forced the Federal Government with the information to help the fight against corruption of the administration led by President Buhari.

⦁ The Federal Government and the NNPC receive hundreds of spurious claims of this nature daily, and they always turn out to be false.

⦁ NNPC also believed that, based on operations and the state of the international crude oil market in 2015, it was impossible to ship 48 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil to China without any record or trace of it.

⦁ By context, as of 2015, the daily production of crude oil in Nigeria was less than 1.6 million barrels. Therefore, 48 million barrels of crude oil would have been the country’s total production capacity for an entire month. It was and still is simply impossible for the nation’s month-long crude oil production to disappear without any record or trace of the country’s coastline.

⦁ NNPC was also aware that, as at the material moment and taking into account the fact that the People’s Republic of China is one of the most regulated economies in the world, the export of crude oil from Nigeria to China was carried out exclusively by four Well-known companies approved by, under the control, property and management of the Chinese government. Therefore, it would have been impossible to transport 48 million barrels of crude oil from Nigeria to China without the active participation of these companies. Again, from an economic perspective, it made little sense for someone to store that volume of crude oil in China for such a considerable period, considering the corresponding significant storage costs. It should be noted that the Chinese Government, through its officials, had emphatically stated in response to this claim in different forums, including the United Nations General Assembly, that there was NO stolen Nigerian crude oil stored in any port, terminal or facility of storage in China.

⦁ Despite these reservations and in view of the fact that transparency, accountability, the fight against corruption and the recovery of the looted resources of the country have been integral components of state policy under the administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Federal Government created the Presidential Committee for the Recovery of Stolen Nigerian Crude Oil in response to claims made by various companies, including SAMANO, about the alleged stolen Nigerian crude oil stored in China.

⦁ Said Presidential Committee requested that SAMANO provide evidence in evidence of its allegations to allow it to investigate and verify its claim. Still, SAMANO refused, neglected, or failed to provide the Committee with any compelling and verifiable evidence in support of its allegations.

⦁ Although SAMANO failed to produce verifiable evidence in support of its allegations, to complete, relevant officials were mandated to pay an in-person visit to China and further investigate SAMANO’s claim.

⦁ During this investigative trip to China, SAMANO’s claim was found to be false, as there were no 48 million barrels of stolen Nigerian crude oil or stolen Nigerian crude oil at any port, terminal or storage facility in China. It was also discovered that all documents previously submitted by SAMANO in support of its claims were not genuine. The Committee issued a report of this finding to the President.

⦁ Consequently, the Federal Government ended all communications with SAMANO as it became clear that his claim was a hoax.

⦁ When SAMANO realized that the Federal Government was no longer interested in nonexistent stolen crude, it resorted to blackmail and intimidation by key government officials. SAMANO threatened to publicize the fact that the non-existent crude oil had been recovered, sold and obtained by senior government officials and other personalities when it knew that this was an absolute falsehood.

⦁ SAMANO made several demands, including the demand that government officials pay him the sum of $ 125,000,000: 00 (One hundred twenty-five million United States dollars) to prevent him from disclosing this false information to the public. This lawsuit soon turned into harassment when SAMANO embarked on a malicious exercise to embarrass the Nigerian Federal Government on international media platforms and before various international institutions such as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in a calculated attempt to blackmail the Nigerian Federal Government and NNPC to pay you a significant amount of money as compensation.

⦁ As a result of constant harassment, NNPC was forced to submit a formal report to the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Nigerian Police, while other victims wrote requests on the same subject to the Honorable Attorney General of the Federation.

⦁ After a thorough investigation by the police and DSS and confessions by SAMANO agents, it was discovered that the allegations of conspiracy, falsification, obtaining money for false pretenses, blackmail and extortion were well founded and that some of the fraudulent activities of one Ramírez and José Salazar Tinajero (both SAMANO agents) constituted a threat to Nigeria’s national security.

⦁ During their investigation, Nigerian police discovered that SAMANO is part of a notorious criminal union that routinely intimidates, blackmails, and defrauds government officials and other high-profile people. For example, it was discovered that Mr. Ramírez, representative of SAMANO, was accused by the United States District Court in the Southern District of Texas as the mastermind of a plan that led to the loss of several million dollars to through various postal and electronic frauds between 2010 and 2013. The police realized that Mr. Ramírez fled the United States of America and settled in Nigeria, where he continued his criminal activities together with SAMANO and its Managing Director. There is a subsistence order issued by the United States Government for the arrest of Mr. Ramírez. His wife has been convicted in the United States for her role in a visa lottery scam that he devised.

⦁ NNPC is aware that this investigation led to the filing of Charge No .: FCT / HC / BU / CR / 134/2019 between the Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Marco Antonio Ramirez and 4 Others in the Superior Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja Some of the crimes in office are criminal conspiracy, forgery, extortion and attempt to obtain money with false pretenses.

⦁ NNPC also understands that Mr. Ramírez and his henchmen are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for other UN crimes in the Superior Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, in charge: FCT / HC / CR / 147/2016 and the Federal Superior Court, Lagos in charge No: ID / 2763/2016.

⦁ NNPC is convinced that SAMANO’s chameleonic stance as a potential buyer, then a free informant and then a whistleblower, demonstrates its desperation to deceive and defraud the Federal Republic of Nigeria by all means.

ANO In its latest correspondence with NNPC, SAMANO states that it is entitled to compensation for supplying information on lost crude oil in accordance with the Federal Government’s Whistleblowing Policy. However, the information (which has proven to be pure falsehood) that forms the basis of this claim was provided in 2015, while the Federal Government’s Whistleblowing Policy only started in December 2016.

⦁ SAMANO was also unable to follow due process or establish that the information it allegedly provided led to a recovery or that the information was disseminated through the appropriate channel: the online portal of the Federal Ministry of Finance or in writing to the Federal Ministry of Finance or the Initiative Presidency of the Continuous Audit Unit. SAMANO’s actions were contrary to the policy established by the government regarding the reporting of irregularities. In fact, SAMANO does not qualify as a complainant under this policy, particularly because no benefit derived from the falsehood that it provided at that time.

In light of the above, NNPC urges members of the public to ignore SAMANO sponsored posts. At best, they are fun and encourage your fleece scheme in Nigeria. SAMANO’s attempt to divert attention from the ongoing criminal charges against its Managing Director and its agents will not be enough. NNPC has instructed the Council to take appropriate legal action against SAMANO and its officers for the injuries caused to the Corporation and its officers by the falsehoods that SAMANO and its agents have sold.

SIGNED

AFE BABALOLA & CO.

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