By Ehi Ekhator, Naija Center News
A former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke was arrested based on Oil Swap Deal, NAIJA CENTER NEWS can authoritatively report.
The former minister who was arrested in London on Thursday by UK’s National Crime Agency, signed a contract on behalf of the Federal government during President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration.
The $50bn Crude Oil Swaps Deal refer to an arrangement whereby about fifty percent 50 percent of the nation’s daily quota of crude oil meant for domestic refining and consumption are given to some local companies in the oil and gas sector which then sell the products in the international market and thereafter import petroleum products, including derivatives or byproducts on behalf of the NNPC and PPMC for sale and distribution in the country.
Nigerian daily quota of crude oil for local consumption is about 445,000 barrels. This arrangement was necessitated by the inability of the local refineries to operate at their fully installed capacities which would have been able to refine all the daily domestic quota of crude oil.
The Offshore Processing Agreements (OPAs) involved the allocation of the daily domestic quota of crude oil to some local companies in the oil and gas sector. The companies then take the crude oil to refineries outside the country, refine them into petroleum products, including derivatives or byproducts, and import them into the country on behalf of the PPMC.
Alison-Madueke was accused of masterminding the development that led to less quantity of petroleum products, byproducts and derivatives being imported into the country by the local companies in exchange for the crude oil allocated to them by the NNPC.
A source at the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) who spoke with NAIJA CENTER NEWS in anonymity said ” An investigation was carried out and a lot of shitty deals was found to be done by Alison-Madueke. The file was passed on to the London Police who passed it on to the International Corruption Unit of the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), and when they were able to establish that the allegations were true, they picked her up.
“Some of the issue that raised high attention is the Oil Swap Deals. She signed the Oil swap deal on behalf of the Federal Government running into billions of dollars, and it seems to be some dusts under the surface and the Presidency is trying to get to the bottom of it. This is the main issue, there are a lot of other minor issues but Oil Swap Deal is the major issue.
“She is going to be tried in the UK for fraud and money laundering. Every evidences, information in the commission will be transferred to the London Met Police. For the oil Swap Deal Alone, she is being charged up to the sum of $16bn dollars”
Responding to why the former minister is not tried in Nigeria, the source said “The major problem we have in Nigeria judiciary system is the burden of truth. This is a life factor even herself must prove beyond reasonable doubt. But in UK, if i see you driving a new car, i can launch a case against you in court and you will come and prove how you got fund to acquire the car. But in Nigeria, it is different, how will someone who launch a case against you to provide evidence to the court that you bought a car using criminal proceeds. So burden of truth is our basic problem in Nigeria, but they are trying to reverse it.”
In September, a civil society group focused on transparency in the oil and gas sector criticized the interim Offshore Processing Agreement, OPA, between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and three multinational trading companies to boost the supply of refined petroleum products in the country.
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice said the process of engaging the companies fell short of the provisions of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Act 2007.