House Probes NNPC $6.8bn Deal with Swiss Oil Firms

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, November 12, (THEWILL) – The House of Representatives Tuesday resolved to investigate allegations of connivance between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and some Swiss oil companies in Nigeria to swindle the nation of over $6.8 billion through “some letter box” companies.

The  probe was consequent upon a motion on the ‘urgent need to investigate the alleged connivance of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation with Swiss oil dealers to rob Nigeria billions of dollars’, moved by Hon. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun.

Leading debate on the motion, the lawmaker noted that the National Assembly has saved the nation billions of Naira in the past through several investigations and probes on the oil sector with far-reaching recommendations and benefits to the nation.

Abudu-Balogun informed the House that the Berne Declaration, in its report titled, ‘Swiss Traders Opaque Deals in Nigeria’, had revealed the schemes employed by   NNPC and foreign oil companies to dupe the country of over $6.8 billion through some ‘letter box companies’.

He expressed worry that “In spite of all these actions of the National Assembly, there are still allegations of corruption in the Nigerian oil industry. The new report by Swiss non-governmental advocacy organisation, the Berne Declaration, detailing how the NNPC, in connivance with major Swiss oil trading companies, is draining Nigeria of billions of dollars of revenue through the sale of crude oil below the market value.

“The Berne Declaration has described the Nigerian oil scam as the greatest fraud Africa has ever known, and the report specifically listed Vitol and Transfigura Commodity Trading Firms (NNPC partners) in the shady deals, saying Nigeria losses billions of dollars as large volumes of oil are exported far below the market prices.

“Exclusive and (non transparent) partnerships of Vitol and Transfigura with NNPC gave them over 36 percent of the market share, with NNPC selling its crude at discounts. Why Nigeria is the only major oil producing nation that sells 100 percent of its crude to private traders rather than market, it benefits from the resulting added value with the greatest number of beneficiaries of export allocations.

“(We are) worried by the sharp practices and deals in NNPC crude oil allocations to local refineries, which are not utilised, but sold fraudulently at knock down prices to Geneva-based companies through letter box companies by SWAP arrangements,” he said.

When the motion was put to question, the ayes were in the majority and Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, who presided over the  plenary gave the committee four weeks to in its report.

Saint Mugaga, Abuja