• How ex-oil minister imposed illegal firms on NNPC in $24bn oil deal –Reps
From Henry Chukwurah and Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
FORMER Chief of Naval Staff and husband of embattled former minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani, Rear Admiral Allison Madueke (retd), was arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday in Abuja.
The former navy chief was picked up from his Abuja residence for questioning and was interrogated for several hours.
It was also gathered that his arrest was in connection with the ongoing probe of his wife’s financial transactions while she served as oil minister in former president Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
A source told Daily Sun that it had to do with an alleged money laundering case but did not give details of the amount involved.
EFCC spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, was said to be away on official duty in Lagos when Daily Sun called at his office for confirmation of Madueke’s arrest. Also, his phone was switched off.
However, it was gathered that the former minister’s husband was still being quizzed as at past 7:00pm on Wednesday and would likely be detained.
Madueke’s wife, Diezani, who is a cancer patient in London, has been under intense probe by the present administration over alleged high-scale illegal financial transactions and money transfers in office. She is also facing court trial in the United Kingdom for a similar offence.
Meanwhile, hearing continued yesterday at the House of Representatives ad hoc Committee investigating the N24 billion oil swap deal with a revelation that Alison-Madueke, allegedly imposed illegal companies on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The House disclosed that it has received the list of illegal companies registered by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) which operated the deal without being registered with the Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) as required by law.
Government-owned entities such Duke Global Energy Investment Limited, a subsidiary of NNPC, is one of the companies alleged to be conducting business with its parent company illegally as it did not have a representative of MOFI on its board, as required by law.
Duke Global Energy Investment Limited was listed in the documents obtained from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) for the ongoing investigative public hearing on the $24 billion crude oil swap scandal, according to Hamman Pategi (APC-Kwara), a member of the committee.
Duke Energy Investment Limited was registered with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in 2012 by NNPC, as an arm of Duke Oil Incorporated registered in Panama in 1989, to deal in crude oil on behalf of NNPC at the international market.
Pategi, who said MOFI did not have a representative on the Board of Duke Energy Investment Limited, as obtainable with other companies established by MDAs and privatised companies, however, did not mention the other companies who operated the deal illegally.
Also, former NNPC group managing director, Joseph Dawha, also said yesterday that he inherited the controversial crude oil for products exchange deal.
Dawah said NNPC entered into the arrangement and the Offshore Processing Agreement (OPA) contracts with the trading companies in 2010 to terminate between 2013 and 2014. He said further that Alison-Madueke, only approved the renewal of the contracts in August 2014, months after it had expired.
He insisted that, “as of August 2014 when I assumed office, the contracts were still being run long after they had all expired. Based on legal and compelling need to reconcile the contracts to ensure actual delivery and receipt of the agreed volume of products against the crude lifted, it became imperative that the arrangement under which the parties had been operating for several months prior to my assumption of office without formal contracts be formalised to provide legal basis to the parties’ rights and obligations. Subsequently, we requested approval from the then minister of Petroleum Resources for renewal of the contracts. Upon receipt of the then minister’s approval granted on August 29, 2014, the contracts were formally extended to cover the periods from their respective dates of expiry until the end of December 2014. If I had not got the approval, I may have been the GMD with the shortest tenure because there is no way I would have allowed it to continue,” he added.
He told the committee that the oil swap arrangement was eventually dropped for OPA based on value, while adding that the same trading firms involved with the oil swap arrangement were contracted to continue with the OPA.
When asked why he continued with the companies despite the obvious flaws in NNPC’s contracts with them, the former GMD said he decided to continue with the said companies because they were on the existing platform for supply, adding that the situation of fuel supply at the time left NNPC with no time to engage new companies.
The Zakari Mohammed-led committee equally expressed concerns over 15-staff Duke Oil Incorporated that was registered in Panama, with an office in the United Kingdom (UK) and only an affiliate in Nigeria, DUGIL.
The committee also asked why a Nigerian company registered offshore pays tax to its host country, while a non-resident company Trafigura, based in the Netherland lifts Nigerian oil but refused to pay tax to the Nigerian government.