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Swiss Report: How Nigeria lost $7 billion in 3 years to NNPC shady oil transactions

By The Rainbow
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A new report detailing how the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in connivance with major Swiss oil trading companies, is depriving Nigeria of billions of dollars of revenue through the sale of crude oil below market value has been released.

According to the report, Nigeria has lost about $7 billion to this underhanded activities of NNPC top officials.

The report, titled, “Swiss Traders’ Opaque Deals in Nigeria”, was released last Monday by a Swiss non-governmental advocacy organisation, the Berne Declaration.

The report cited by Business Ghana website described the schemes employed by Nigerian and foreign fuel importers, such as the creation of offshore subsidiaries referred to as “letterbox companies,”, ship-to-ship transfer to create untraceable paperwork, payment of subsidy money to phantom and non-existent importers, and partnering with “Politically Exposed Persons” (PEPs) to defraud the country of over $6.8 billion between 2009 and 2011.

The report said it was clear that Swiss traders were contributing to the perpetuation of a corrupt system which was characterised by’letterbox’ companies drawing crude oil export allocations solely as a result of the owners’ proximity to politically exposed persons (PEPs); – opaque calls for tender whose criteria were unknown to the public.

The system also included suspicions of crude oil sales at knock-down prices, or prices that were unfavourable to the Nigerian state, in particular in the framework of the partnerships concluded between the NNPC and Vitol and Trafigura respectively.

The report added that, “In imports, Switzerland’s role in hosting trading companies proves to be equally problematic, in several respects …”:

It described the Nigerian oil scam as the greatest fraud Africa had ever known, and described a network by which transactions were made through shell companies in Switzerland and notorious offshore tax havens in Bermuda, to deny Nigeria billions of naira in tax earnings.

The report identified seven major oil marketers and fuel importers as most complacent in these shady activities.

They are: MRS Group, which owns a subsidiary called Petrowest Services SA; Ontario Oil and Gas limited, which has a Swiss Subsidiary named Ontario Trading and located at the premises of Nimex Petroleum in Geneva; Rahamaniyya Group, which owns a subsidiary called Rahamaniyya Oil and Gas SA in Geneva since October 2010; and Nimex Petroleum which the report suggested may be acting as an incubator for shady companies.

The rest are Tridax Energy Limited and Mezcor Limited, with Swiss subsidiaries, Tridax SA, Mezcor SA in Geneva; Sahara Energy with a Swiss subsidiary Sahara International Pte Limited; and Aiteo Energy Resources Limited, with a subsidiary in Geneva called Aiteo Suisse AG.

According to the report, these companies had been traced to close associates and the younger brother of Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and had been indicted by committees investigating massive fraud in Nigeria’s subsidy scandal.

The NNPC had also been indicted by several reports for its inefficient management of the funds from the country’s huge oil resources, it stated.

Source: GNA