The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, confirmed the receipt of the list of illegal companies registered by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), but unknown to the Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI).
According to the Adhoc Committee investigating crude oil swap for refined petroleum products, chaired by Zakari Mohammed, one of the companies listed in the documents obtained from the Office of the Accountant of the Federation (oAGF) for the ongoing investigative public hearing on the $24 billion crude oil swap scandal was Duke Global Energy Investment Limited, an NNPC subsidiary.
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 trade crude oil on behalf of NNPC at the international market.
Hamman Pategi (APC-Kwara), who did not mention other companies, said that the Federal Ministry of Finance did not have representation on the Board of Duke Energy Investment Limited, as obtainable by companies established by MDAs and privatised companies across the country.
While reacting to presentations of various stakeholders, members of the Adhoc Committee queried the rationale for the 7.56 million barrels of crude traded by the NNPC, 20 months after the expiration of the contract agreements between Duke Oil, Transfigura and other oil marketers.
The Committee also queried the non-payment of tax by Transfigura to Nigerian authorities while a Nigeria company registered offshore pays its due taxes to its host country and requested for all the annual financial reports of Duke Oil and Duke Energy Investment Limited since their establishments as well as evidence of relevant taxes paid to the UK and Panama.
Joseph Dawah, former NNPC group managing director, who appeared before the Committee, also confirmed that “in 2010, NNPC entered into OPA with Societe Ivoiriene de Raffinage refinery, which expired October 3, 2013; crude for products exchange with Transfigura B. V of 60,000 barrels per day, which expired on September 30, 2013, and 90,000 barrel per day of crude for products exchange contract with Duke Oil Incorporated a subsidiary of NNPC.”
“NNPC and the contract holders had continued to ‘voluntarily’ operate the contracts,” which implies that “the contracts were deemed to have been renewed or extended on their terms by agreement of the parties.”
In the bid to correct the anomalies in the swap arrangement, Dawah revealed that he “requested approval from the then minister of petroleum resources for renewal of the contracts. Upon receipt of the then minister’s approval granted on 29th August 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 ministerial approval, I may have been the GMD with the shortest tenure because there is no way I would have allowed it to continue.”
Dawah said after obtaining the approval, NNPC eventually dropped for OPA based on value, while all the trading firms involved with the oil swap arrangement were contracted to continue with the OPA.
Dawah further argued that the OPAs delivered the highest yield for premium products per barrel of crude oil than the crude oil swap, based on an analysis of Yield Pattern Comparison conducted under his watch.
On his part, Babatunde Adeniran, Chairman of Duke Oil Board and NNPC Group Executive Director (marketing), confirmed that Duke Oil sister company paid requisite taxes in London but failed to disclose whether the company paid tax in Panama where the company was incorporated in 1989.
Adeniran explained that all the profits made were remitted to NNPC, which in turns pay into the Federation Account.
While responding to questions from the Committee, Esther Nnamdi, PPMC managing director, disclosed that the company in conjunction with NEITI negotiated direct refining of crude oil in order to meet domestic demand.
The lawmakers also expressed concern over the establishment of DUGIL, an umbrella company through which the N26 million tax was paid to Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
They further alleged that Transfigura breached all extant laws in connivance with officials of NNPC and its subsidiaries, in tandem with the reports from the Extractive Industry and NEITI, which described crude oil lifting in Nigeria as opaque.