President Muhammadu Buhari has been called to act immediately after some indicted oil companies who perpetuated serious crimes against the state were reportedly awarded crude oil contracts.
A new investigative report carried out by Premium Times has revealed how companies indicted in a multi-billion subsidy fraud were awarded contracts to lift crude oil in Nigeria in 2017 by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
This was noticed from the list of companies released by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for the 2017/2018 crude oil trade. The report gathered that some of the firms have been indicted and facing criminal charges.
The indigenous beneficiaries include Oando, Sahara Energy, MRS Oil and Gas, AA Rano, Bono, Masters Energy, Eterna Oil and Gas, Cassiva Energy, Hyde Energy and Brittania U.
Others are NorthWest Petroleum, Optima Energy, AMG Petroenergy, Arkiren Oil and Gas Limited, Shoreline Limited, Entourage Oil, Setana Energy and Prudent Energy.
According to the report, at least six of the companies listed were indicted or are still facing charges for fuel subsidy fraud. These include Masters Energy, Oando, Eterna Oil and Gas, Seterna Energy, AMG Petroenergy, and Prudent Energy.
“Many of these multinationals, oil companies, and other high-level investors in the system, they have a way of manipulating the system that you won’t be surprised if many of them also have contributed to the campaign and funding of some of these political parties and government officials,” said Olanrewaju Suraju, chairman of Civil Society Network Against Corruption, a coalition of anti-corruption organisations.
“So they pay them back which is usually considered an investment in the electoral process. They get to pay them back with these kinds of contracts.”
The companies were indicted after investigations were launched, and several of them are still facing criminal charges in Nigerian courts for making hugely inflated subsidy claims.
The NNPC released the names of 39 winners for the sale and purchase of Nigerian crude in 2017/2018. The contract would run for one year effective from January 1 for consecutive 12 circles of crude oil allocation and involves 18 Nigerian companies, 11 International Traders, five foreign refineries, three National Oil Companies (NOCs) and two NNPC trading arms.
According to the NNPC all the contracts for the 2017/2018 crude trade were for 32,000 barrels per day except Duke Oil Ltd, an oil trading arm of the NNPC, which shall be for 90,000 barrels per day.
It is shocking to Nigerians how companies indicted in such serious crime against the Nigerian state would be allowed to continue business in a government where the President has sworn to stamp out corruption.