Home Latest Insights | News Multi-million Dollar Oil Fraud: Nigerian House of Reps Issues Arrest Warrant for CBN Gov, AGF, Others

Multi-million Dollar Oil Fraud: Nigerian House of Reps Issues Arrest Warrant for CBN Gov, AGF, Others

Multi-million Dollar Oil Fraud: Nigerian House of Reps Issues Arrest Warrant for CBN Gov, AGF, Others

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions has issued a warrant of arrest for Central Bank Governor Olayemi Cardoso and 17 other individuals, including the Accountant General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein. The warrant stems from their refusal to appear before the committee to answer questions on allegations of corruption related to the oil sector.

The decision was made during the committee’s session on Tuesday, prompted by a petition filed by Fidelis Uzowanem. The petitioner raised concerns based on the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) report of 2021, which exposed multiple infractions within the oil and gas sector involving collaboration between industry players and government officials.

The committee, chaired by Michael Etaba (APC, Cross River), said that the individuals, including heads of major oil and exploration companies, had consistently ignored invitations to address the issues raised in the petition.

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Fred Agbedi (PDP, Bayelsa), a committee member, moved the motion to issue the warrant of arrest, asserting that the concerned individuals must appear before the committee on December 14. The motion was adopted, and the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, was tasked with executing the warrant.

The petition by Fidelis Uzowanem highlighted the NEITI report’s revelations of fraudulent activities within the oil and gas industry dating back to 2016. Uzowanem claimed that the recoverable amounts identified in the report could potentially fund the proposed N27.5 trillion budget for 2024.

“We took up the challenge to examine the report and discovered that what NEITI put together as a report is only a consolidation of fraud that has been going on in the oil and gas industry.

“It dates back to 2016 because we have been following and we put up a petition to this committee to examine what has happened.

“The 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion that has been proposed can be confidently funded from the recoverable amount that we identified in the NEITI report,” he said.

Allegations were also made against international oil companies, including claims that millions of dollars were laundered for NNPC Limited. Uzowanem said that NEITI concealed certain transactions, such as $124 million laundered through Total, $76 million through Chevron, and $188 million through Nigeria Agip Company.

“In other words, $124 million was laundered by NNPCL through Total because monies that have been officially paid to Total could not have been concealed if they were not meant for fraudulent purposes.

“Also for Chevron, the dollar payment NEITI puts forward in its report was $76 million but documents emanating from Chevron showed that they received as much as $267 million.

“$191 million was laundered under the cover of Chevron and NEITI concealed that; also, Nigeria Agip Company received $188 million but none of it was reported by NEITI,” he said.

The arrest warrant, issued under Section 89 of the 1999 constitution, grants the National Assembly and its committees the power to compel the attendance of individuals during investigations. It allows for the imposition of fines and costs in cases of non-compliance.

The development underscores the gravity of the malfeasance going on within Nigeria’s key economic sectors.

The committee’s actions are seen as a determination to address issues of transparency and accountability within the crucial oil and gas sector, signaling a commitment to uncover and rectify fraudulent activities that have persisted over several years.

Among the 17 individuals to be apprehended are the leaders of various entities, including the heads of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Ethiop Eastern Exploration and Production Company Ltd, and Western Africa Exploration and Production.

Others include the heads of Alteo Eastern E&P Co. Ltd., First Exploration & Production Ltd., The Managing Director of First E&P Oml 8385 Jv, Heirs Holdings Oil, and Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (Mpnu).

Further, the roster includes representatives from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Total Exploration & Producing Nig (TEPN), Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Pan Ocean Oil Nig, Ltd, Newcross E&P Ltd, and Frontier Oil Ltd.

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