Al Mustapha Reveals: How 30 Generals Escaped Massacre …After Abacha’s death

Some of the events and actions of the past that significantly define the present dispensation in the country are still shrouded in mystery and secrecy. Active players in those moments still deny Nigerians the benefits of insight to their actions …and perhaps, their inactions.
Fortunately, one of such personalities, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, the former powerful Chief Security Officer to late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, who has spent the whole of 10 years in incarceration, has found good use for his time in detention by writing his experience and witnesses in what is described as his prison notes.
In this exclusive access to the prison notes, Al-Mustapha reveals, in vivid details, the events that led to the death of his boss and, in the aftermath of that, how a whole generation of military Generals would have been wiped out in the power struggle that ensued.

My Boss, General Sani Muhammad Abacha, died at the early hours of Monday, 8th June, 1998. I had prepared him for a workshop organized by the Federal Ministry of Information for that day as he was expected to deliver an address as the Special Guest of Honour. His speech was drafted and fine tuned by the Chief Press Secretary, Chief David Attah who had submitted it to the Aide-De Camp for vetting and necessary amendments by the Commander-in-Chief.

When I got to the bedside of the Head of State, he was already gasping. Ordinarily, I could not just touch him. It was not allowed in our job. But under the situation on ground, I knelt close to him and shouted, “General Sani Abacha, Sir, please grant me permission to touch and carry you.”

Contrary to insinuations, speculations and sad rumours initiated by some sections of the society, I maintain that the sudden collapse of the health system of the late Head of State started previous day (Sunday, 7th June, 1998) right from the Abuja International Airport immediately after one of the white security operatives or personnel who accompanied President Yasser Arafat of Palestine shook hands with him (General Abacha)
I had noticed the change in the countenance of the late Commander-in-Chief and informed the Aide-de-Camp, Lt. Col. Abdallah, accordingly. He, however, advised that we keep a close watch on the Head of State.
Later in the evening of 8th June, 1998, around 6p.m; his doctor came around, administered an injection to stabilize him. He was advised to have a short rest. Happily, enough, by 9p.m; the Head of State was bouncing and receiving visitors until much later when General Jeremiah Timbut Useni, the then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, came calling. He was fond of the Head of State. They were very good friends.
They stayed and chatted together till about 3.35a.m. A friend of the house was with me in my office and as he was bidding me farewell, he came back to inform me that the FCT Minister, General Useni was out of the Head of State’s Guest House within the Villa. I then decided to inform the ADC and other security boys that I would be on my way home to prepare for the early morning event at the International Conference Centre.
At about 5a.m; the security guards ran to my quarters to inform me that the Head of State was very unstable. At first, I thought it was a coup attempt. Immediately, I prepared myself fully for any eventuality.
As an intelligence officer and the Chief Security Officer to the Head of State for that matter, I devised a means of diverting the attention of the security boys from my escape route by asking my wife to continue chatting with them at the door – she was in the house while the boys were outside. From there, I got to the Guest House of the Head of State before them.
When I got to the bedside of the Head of State, he was already gasping. Ordinarily, I could not just touch him. It was not allowed in our job. But under the situation on ground, I knelt close to him and shouted, “General Sani Abacha, Sir, please grant me permission to touch and carry you.” I again knocked at the stool beside the bed and shouted in the same manner, yet he did not respond. I then realized there was a serious danger. I immediately called the Head of State’s personal physician, Dr. Wali, who arrived the place under eight minutes from his house.
He immediately gave Oga – General Abacha – two doses of injection, one at the heart and another close to his neck. This did not work apparently as the Head of State had turned very cold. He then told me that the Head of State was dead and nothing could be done after all.
I there and then asked the personal physician to remain with the dead body while I dashed home to be fully prepared for the problems that might arise from the incident. As soon as I informed my wife, she collapsed and burst into tears. I secured my house and then ran back.
At that point, the Aide-de-Camp had been contacted by me and we decided that great caution must be taken in handling the grave situation.
Again, I must reiterate that the issue of my Boss dying on top of women was a great lie just as the insinuation that General Sani Abacha ate and died of poisoned apples was equally a wicked lie. My question is: did Chief M.K.O Abiola die of poisoned apples or did he die on top of women? As I had stated at the Oputa Panel, their deaths were organized. Pure and simple!
It was at this point that I used our special communication gadgets to diplomatically invite the Service Chiefs, Military Governors and some few elements purportedly to a meeting with the Head of State by 9a.m. at the Council Chamber. That completed, I also decided to talk to some former leaders of the nation to inform them that General Sani Abacha would like to meet them by 9a.m.
Situation became charged however, when one of the Service Chiefs, Lieutenant General Ishaya Rizi Bamaiyi, who pretended to be with us, suggested he be made the new Head of State after we had quietly informed him of the death of General Sani Abacha. He even suggested we should allow him access to Chief Abiola. We smelt a rat and other heads of security agencies, on hearing this, advised I move Chief Abiola to a safer destination. I managed to do this in spite of the fact that I had been terribly overwhelmed with the crisis at hand.
But then, when some junior officers over-heard the suggestion of one of the Service Chiefs earlier mentioned, it was suggested to me that we should finish all the members of the Provisional Ruling Council and give the general public an excuse that there was a meeting of the PRC during which a shoot-out occurred between some members of the Provisional Ruling Council and the Body Guards to the Head of State
When I sensed that we would be contending with far more delicate issues than the one on ground, I talked to Generals Buba Marwa and Ibrahim Sabo who both promptly advised us – the junior officers – against any bloodshed. They advised we contact General Ibrahim Babangida (former Military President) who equally advised against any bloodshed but that we should support the most senior officer in the Provisional Ruling Council (PRC) to be the new Head of State.
Since the words of our elders are words of wisdom, we agreed to support General Jeremiah Useni. Along the line, General Bamaiyi lampooned me saying, “Can’t you put two and two together to be four? Has it not occurred to you that General Useni who was the last man with the Head of State might have poisoned him, knowing full well that he was the most senior officer in the PRC?”
Naturally, I became furious with General Useni since General Abacha’s family had earlier on complained severally about the closeness of the two Generals; at that, a decision was taken to storm General Useni’s house with almost a battalion of soldiers to effect his arrest. Again, some heads of security units and agencies, including my wife, advised against the move.
The next most senior person and officer in government was General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who was then the Chief of Defence Staff. We rejected the other Service Chief, who, we believed, was too ambitious and destructive. We settled for General Abubakar and about six of us called him inside a room in the Head of State’s residence to break the news of the death of General Abacha to him.
As a General with vast experience, Abdulsalami Abubakar, humbly requested to see and pray for the soul of General Abacha which we allowed. Do we consider this a mistake? Because right there, he – Abubakar – went and sat on the seat of the late Head of State. Again, I was very furious. Like I said at the Oputa Panel, if caution was not applied, I would have gunned him down.
The revolution the boys were yearning for would have started right there. The assumption that we could not have succeeded in the revolution was a blatant lie. We were in full control of the State House and the Brigade of Guards. We had loyal troops in Keffi and in some other areas surrounding the seat of government – Abuja. But I allowed peace to reign because we believed it would create further crises in the country.
We followed the advice of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and the wise counsel of some loyal senior officers and jointly agreed that General Abdulsalami Abubakar be installed Head of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces immediately after the burial of General Sani Abacha in Kano. It is an irony of history that the same Service Chief who wanted to be Head of State through bloodshed, later instigated the new members of the Provisional Ruling Council against us and branded us killers, termites and all sorts of hopeless names. They planned, arranged our arrest, intimidation and subsequent jungle trial in 1998 and 1999. These, of course, led to our terrible condition in several prisons and places of confinement.

BARKINDO DIVERTS 125M BARRELS OF OIL IN 15 MONTHS

-Vessel names & Loading Dates Published

The sack, last week, of Dr. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo by an announcement from the office of the Acting President, must have been precipitated by the uncovering and report of a massive act of suspected fraud in the sale of Nigeria’s all important crude oil, investigation has revealed. Emerging revelations from the Abuja headquarters of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation indicate that the all powerful national petroleum agency has transformed into the epicentre of sleaze in government administration. Sources in the Presidency confided that the sack of Barkindo, the showy Group Managing Director of the NNPC, is the beginning of the daunting process of unearthing powerful officials that have become institutionalized in the structure and management of the NNPC.

Barkindo, as GMD of the NNPC, in the consideration of oil industry stakeholders, represented the pre-eminence of the group of officials in the NNPC and the larger petroleum ministry, who have continued to expropriate the oil resources of the country for personal gains. Under Barkindo’s watch, more than 125 million barrels of crude oil were diverted between January 2009 and March 2010. See Document A-D for details of vessel names, loading dates and quantity lifted. Also counted in that group is Mr. Aminu Babakusa, the NNPC’s current Group Executive Director, Commercial and Investment, in that class also was the dropped Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwan Lukman and a host of former Group Managing Directors of the NNPC, who, sources claim still benefit largely from the booties of crude oil diversion by the successor members of the cabal who still hold sway at the NNPC.

THE CABAL AT WORK: HOW THEY DIVERT CRUDE OIL SALE FOR PERSONAL GAINS

As reported in last week’s edition of this magazine, a select group of officials in the NNPC and the Petroleum Ministry have established an enduring platform by which they continue to divert crude oil sale opportunity to their preferred middleman at discounted premium leaving enough premium margin for the cabal members when the middle man sells off the crude in the international market.

In direct response to the exposure of undercutting the nation’s income template by this magazine last week, the NNPC’s Group Executive Director, Commercial and Investment, Mr. Babakusa, stridently denied the revelations of how the cabal of top officials of NNPC and the Petroleum Ministry profited from discounting premium payable on each barrel of crude oil to the preferred middleman. At the centre of the premium shaving fraud are two companies, Calson (Bermuda) Limited and Hyson Nigeria Limited. These two, may have, however, developed into bogus companies because rather than serve the purpose for which they were set up, they have unfortunately become conduit pipes through which incomes potentially accruable to Nigeria are diverted to the membership of the cabal.

PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE COMPANIES WERE SET UP

Calson (Bermuda) Limited is a joint venture company collectively owned by the NNPC and Vitol Energy (Bermuda) Limited, Vitol, in 1994, inherited the 49 per cent shareholding initially owned by Chevron in 1993, the year of establishment of the company.

The objectives of the company as stated in Article 1 of the Shareholder Agreement are as outlined:

a. To penetrate the West and Central Africa market in an orderly competitive and profitable fashion;

b. Ensure substantial improvement in the export of petroleum products from Nigeria, in particular from the Port Harcourt refineries;

c. Expedite the efficient and appropriate transfer of know-how in international oil trading and related activities from Vitol and/or its affiliates to NNPC’s designated employees and nominees; and

d. Provide NNPC with means of increasing its flexibility in marketing of crude oil and petroleum products by processing and sale of crude oil and/or refined products in West Africa, and Central Africa and else where.

The agreement provides that NNPC would ensure a minimum supply of 30,000 barrels a day for the trading needs of Calson. It turned out this was just a window to divert millions of barrels of crude oil a day.

Hyson Nigeria Limited which is also a joint venture company between the NNPC and Vitol was set up, among others to provide logistic and operational services to Calson. Like Calson, Vitol also inherited the initial 40 per cent equity holding in the company from Chevron.

WHAT THE NNPC’S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMERCIAL AND INVESTMENT, BABAKUSA, SAID IN DEFENCE OF THE PREMIUM SHAVING ALLEGATION

In his attempt to clear the name of the NNPC in the crude oil price premium shaving fraud, Babakusa, who, incidentally, is the Chairman of the board of directors of Calson explained that Calson is only allocated crude oil from the 450,000 barrels which the Federal Government sells to NNPC at the international price, with the original intention of being refined by the Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries.

According to him, because these refineries cannot refine the 450,000 barrels allocated to them and they are most often, down, the NNPC resorted to selling some of the crude allocated to the refineries “and once we do that, the Crude Oil Marketing Department will then invoice NNPC at the international price. Babakusa said that the NNPC will then sell to Calson and Calson will pay directly to NNPC account which then remits the proceeds to the Federation Account. As he tries to wave off the premium shaving allegation, Babakusa said that each barrel is cost along with plats price.

“Each barrel is priced within the average of five days then you put certain premium in the market. These premiums come on daily basis as the market dictates what that premium is because there are times when our own oil is not attractive to certain market.

“So anytime we want to do it, we take five days back and take an average price at anytime crude is lifted. If there is a premium you add the premium and if it is negative you deduct it but most of the Nigerian crude attract positive premium. Sometime it is five cents, 10 cents, one dollar or even more,” Babakusa said during the chat to dismiss the allegation of crude oil price premium shaving fraud.

He added that Calson does not sell to customers at the open market, preferring to use Vitol as a middleman because it (Calson) lacked the expertise to do open trading.

PUNCTURING BABAKUSA’S BRAZEN ATTEMPT TO HOODWINK NIGERIANS

Babakusa’s half truth half lie explanation is indicative of the typical public servant resort to technicalities to hoodwink the people. Documents available to Fortune&Class Weekly have shown that rather than the maximum 450,000 barrels sold to Calson by NNPC, between January 2009 when Barkindo assumed duties as NNPC’s GMD and March 2010, the NNPC had diverted more than 125million barrels of crude oil to Vitol using Calson merely as a conduit pipe. See Documents A-D.

Babakusa lied again in trying to suggest that NNPC sells crude oil to Calson which in turn pays directly to NNPC’s account. Documents have shown that NNPC peremptorily directs Calson to offer the allocated crude oil cargo Vitol, even though Calson would have been recorded in NNPC books as the company nominated to lift the crude oil cargo. (See Document E for a typical letter of crude oil lifting nomination and the stamp on the letter recommending that the cargo be offered to Vitol)

Babakusa’s explanation on selling at premium is unfortunately, a shameless lie. Since 1994 when NNPC signed the joint venture agreement with Vitol, it has become the tradition to offer the cargo through Calson to Vitol at a premium of a mere three cents. The question is what happens to the rest of the premium which Babakusa himself agreed could be as high as one dollar because of the quality of the Nigerian crude oil. Beyond this postulation, it has been established that the Nigerian crude attracts as much as four dollar premium in the international market. If one multiplies even a dollar premium earned by 125million barrels of crude oil diverted to Vitol through Calson during the Barkindo’s era at the NNPC, this should come to a whopping $125million (N2.37billion) in about 15 month.

This, according to a source, is shared out by the NNPC Group Managing Director to his trusted Directors, the Ministry of Petroleum top officials and some select NNPC’s former GMDs. Babakusa belatedly tried to cover up NNPC fraudulent conduct by attempting to explain away the incapacity of Calson to sell crude oil directly to customers in the open market because it lacked the expertise to do open trading. This explanation is faulty on two grounds; the first is that the top management of NNPC compels Calson, its subsidiary, to offer allocated cargo to Vitol which would now sell at the open market. A petroleum industry stakeholder said that what would have been normal would be for Calson to sell using the expertise of its partner, Vitol.

“The crude oil sale should reflect the facilitation of Calson which is a joint venture of both NNPC and Vitol. There is something absolutely fishy when the joint venture partner is now treated as an independent entity acting only by and for itself soon after Calson hands over the cargo to it as directed by NNPC,” the stakeholder argued. It was in an attempt to free Calson from the stranglehold of the NNPC’s cabal and their Vitol collaborators that the incumbent President (Chief Executive) of Calson (Bermuda) Ltd., Mrs. Aisha Abdurrahman, who broke away from the corrupt tradition of the past, to inform in a March 24, 2010 letter addressed to Mr. Paul Greenslade of Vitol that Calson will henceforth trade its crude oil at competitive price in the open market, starting from May 2010. (Please see Document F for full text of the letter from Calson President to Vitol). Babakusa’s reasoning that Calson could not undertake crude oil sale because it lacked the necessary expertise is a direct indictment of the decision making echelon of NNPC and its supervising ministry. As noted earlier, fundamental objective for the establishment of the company was for Vitol to transfer the crude oil trading know-how to NNPC officials seconded to Calson. More than 20 years after the establishment of Calson, Mr. Sodipo, Babatunde Adebayo, a NNPC staff, in a recent paper on International Oil Trading and Nigerian Content Development in Calson (Bermuda) Limited, submitted that NNPC has not been able to develop its human skills capacity in the area of international oil trading through the Calson (Bermuda) Ltd joint venture agreement. He also noted that NNPC secondees to Calson are currently involved only in financial, treasury, office administration and in the local Nigerian logistic function of Calson. This is even as he observed that NNPC secondees do not have hands on knowledge of the core operations of Calson.

BARKINDO WAS CEO AT CALSON BEFORE NNPC’S GMD’S APPOINTMENT

The various under-hand deals and how Nigeria continually gets short-changed can’t possibly be new to Barkindo. Before his appointment to the office of the NNPC GMD, he was Managing Director/Chief Executive Director of Calson/Hayson. To be continued

INCREDIBLE! Odili Claims He Spent N5BN on Security Every Month for 8 Years

If Dr. Peter Odili, former Governor of Rivers State is eventually brought before the court of law to answer to charges of corrupt acts and abuse of office, the revelation of sums purloined from the treasury of the State would go into the records book as new highs in stealing in high places.

Odili, a medical doctor, had voluntarily told a team of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s investigators that he spent a mindboggling N5billion on security matters in his state. Prompted to detail how this sums were deployed, the governor evasively told the investigators that he was not obligated to give details of how he spent the monthly N5billion security vote. He, however, offered that the N5billion monthly expenditure on security was undertaken because of the volatile nature of his State.

If he spent this amount for the eight years of his two terms in office as governor of the State, he would have spent N460billion on to maintain security in the State. Yet, some indigenes of the State observed that it was during Odili’s stay in power that the security situation in the State degenerated into a state of anarchy.

Another Rivers State indigene noted that the sum claimed by Odili to have been spent on security would have transformed the state into a modern day Dubai if properly expended.

Another worrisome disclosure by Odili to EFCC’s investigators was how he spent N30.31billion on the construction and installation of gas turbines as part of the State’s Independent Power Project (IPP). Justifying the money spent on the gas turbines, Odili insisted before the EFCC investigating team that the IPP produced 80 percent of power generation in Port Harcourt which translates to 3,800 Mega Watts of electricity while NEPA generated a mere 15 percent.

The statistics provided by Odili obviously seem to be far fetched especially as Port Harcourt residents continue to grumble over continuously long periods of power outage.

“If Odili had given us 50 percent of the power he claimed to be able to generate we would have bettered the whole of Nigeria in power generation because I know that the Power Holding Company of Nigeria has problems sustaining even a power generation of 2,500 Mega Watts. But we cannot see any evidence of such investment or hope of accessing such huge supply of electricity power,” said a Port Harcourt resident.

Odili, however, insisted that the contract for the construction of the gas turbines was properly bided for even as he noted that the contractor showed similar jobs done for Shell, Agip and the Federal Government of Nigeria, explaining that the contractor was the most competent in power project.

As it turned out, the contractor was Rockson Engineering, the company owned and managed by his (Odili) bosom friend and front man, Mr. Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, who also owns controlling interest in Arik Air.

The EFCC notes observed that the elaborate electricity project was executed without the appropriate legislation by the State House of Assembly in flagrant abuse of constitutional requirements.

The Odili’s loot revelations continues next week

NNPC OFFICAL PROTESTS AGAINST FRAUD …IN CRUDE OIL PRICING

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is witnessing an unusual blowout over as a chief executive officer of one of its subsidiaries makes a move to upturn a long standing tradition that allows the nation to lose billions of dollars to a particular international crude oil trader with the active support of senior officials of the Corporation, even as the Corporation had signed a skewed joint venture agreement with the international trader.

By a letter of 24 March, 2010, the Chief Executive Officer of Carlson (Bermuda) Limited, a subsidiary of NNPC responsible for part of the nation’s crude oil trading, Mrs. Aisha Abdulrrahman, addressed to Mr. Paul Greenslade, the Chief Executive of Vitol Sa Geneva, Mrs. Abdulrraham informed her other number at Vitol SA Geneva of the intention of her company to trade crude oil in the open market.

The letter reads thus:
“This is to notify of you of our intention to trade our crude oil cargoes at competitive price in the open market, starting with May 2010 cargoes.
“Please note that Carlson is willing to continue selling some of our cargoes to VITOL at competitive price.

“We thank you in advance for your patronage,” the letter concludes.

This letter must have caused a literal quake within the structure of the NNPC, Abdulrahhman was departing from a more than 17-year tradition of fleecing Nigeria through under pricing of her crude oil by what oil industry experts describe as a questionable joint venture between the NNPC and VITOL SA Geneva which established Calson (Bermuda) Limited with senior officials of the Corporation cornering the shortfall in the crude oil pricing. At the fore of this opposition is Mr. Aminu Babakosa, NNPC’s Group Executive Director, Commercial and Investment.

Using Calson to Fleece Nigeria
Calson was ostensibly set up to market Nigerian Petroleum Products and Crude Oil to the West and Central African sub-region and beyond. When it was first established in 1988, it was a joint venture between the NNPC and Chevron with an equity structure of 51 percent to NNPC and 49 percent to Chevron.

However, on 1 January, 1994, Chevron divested its interest to VITOL Energy (Bermuda) Limited. The purposes of the joint venture were to increase the level of export of petroleum products and crude oil from Nigeria and to develop the expertise of NNPC’s staff in all aspects of international petroleum trading and related activities.

The signed joint venture agreement, however, has some curious provisions. Article 9.4 of the contract states that:

“NNPC recognizes that a key factor in the agreement is the supply of a minimum of 30,000 barrels a day of Nigerian crude oil to Calson for the duration of this agreement. Crude oil allocation is under the control of the Federal Government and not NNPC. NNPC agrees to use all possible efforts to ensure that this supply continues or is increased.”

Article 9.5 adds that:

“NNPC will ensure the allocation to Calson of a minimum of 25,000 metric tones per month of fuel oil for export.” The article further provides that “NNPC will make best efforts to ensure that Calson receives at least 30 percent of all surplus products over and above the internal requirements of Nigeria…NNPC will supply Calson 100 percent of all export Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from Port Harcourt refinery.

While petroleum industry experts describe Calson joint venture as a veritable pedestal of abuse of administrative privileges by NNPC even as they ask if the Federal Government that is supposed to give approval to such venture partnership, what is shocking is that in just a period of 15 months Nigeria lost $547,725,355 to VITOL and NNPC officials that are positioned to benefit from the administrative heist of crude oil price concessioning.

How the fraud works

NNPC officials use the cover of the joint venture partnership to allocate crude oil shipment to Calson (Bermuda) Limited at OPEC basket rate. The OPEC basket rate is the average of the price quoted for the different quality of crude oil produced by OPEC members.

The Nigerian Bonny Light, also referred to as sweet crude because it is excellent for making gasoline, is usually sold at the open market at a price of four to five dollars premium on each barrel of crude oil. This translates to mean that whoever gets the allocation from NNPC at the OPEC basket rate make a difference of between four to five dollar per barrel.

But according to documents at Fortune&Class Weekly disposal, after a crude oil shipment allocation have been confirmed for Calson (Bermuda) Limited, which has direct Nigerian interest in its operations and revenue, Calson will be compelled by a note from an NNPC official to sell the consignment to VITOL SA at a premium of only three cents.

“What this boils down to is that rather than Calson making the difference in between price and premium it is VITOL that makes the profit with only three cents reverting to Calson, I think that is the reason the Chief Executive of Calson informed VITOL that from May 2010, it would be selling its crude oil cargoes at competitive price and in the open market,” a petroleum industry expert explains.

At the moment, senior officials at the NNPC are said to be up in arms against the new directive to uphold open market competition in the sale of the nation’s crude oil.

However, in response to Fortune&Class Weekly enquiries on under pricing crude oil price through Calson (Bermuda) Limited transfer of its cargoes to VITOL, Mr. Aminu Baba Kosa who chairs the board of Calson on secondment from NNPC, says in a text message:

“Nigeria’s crude oil is never sold in any market at discount. So Calson would have no basis to sell to anybody at discount. Nigeria’s crude oil is monthly priced at the higher end of the market.

To be concluded next week

AIT ECHOES IN ODILI’s LOOT

Not a few people have long suspected that ex-Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, may have invested heavily in one of Nigeria terrestrial broadcasting outfits, operating as the African Independent Television in the Daar Communication holdings owned by Chief Raymond Dokpesi.

While conducting its investigations, officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had accosted Dr. Odili with the allegation that he invested the sum of N1.3billion in AIT between January and November 2006. The ex-Governor hotly contested this allegation, he insisted that the Rivers State Government is a stakeholder in Daar Communication and has investment of not less than 35 percent of the company’s equity capital. Odili reportedly explained that the fund was invested in the company in the name of the State.

Though EFCC officials were said to be preparing back then to interview the Chairman of Daar Communications, Chief Dokpesi, Fortune&Class Weekly’s independent crosschecks however reveals that Odili claim of the State government officially holding a stake in Daar Communications does not align with the claims by Chief Dokpesi in the Public Offer Prospectus of the company in February 2008 when it approached the Nigerian stock market to raise funds.

The Prospectus to the offer, a document revered as much as the holy grail during fund raising activities in the capital market, clearly states that Chief Dokpesi owns Daar Investment and Holding Company, which is the holding company of Daar Communications, the operating company of AIT , by a total 100 percent holding.

The nearest a mention is made in the holding structure of Daar is the listing of one Mrs. Toru Ofili as a non executive director of the company but no shares is ascribed to her either directly or indirectly.

FED. GOVT. AGENCY DECLARES WAR ON TELECOM COMPANIES

NESREA DG

The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) may have declared a war of attrition on telecommunication companies that are known to have scant regard for Nigeria’s environmental upkeep.

As of last count, two chief executives of the GSM providing companies operating in the country have been drag before the court of law to answer charged that borders on criminal breaches.

In one of the cases, the Agency took the action owing to the company’s failure to produce the Environmental Impact Assessment Act Cap E12 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria. In furtherance of the sanction against the GSM service providing company, the base station belonging to the company in Kubwa, Abuja, was shut down on 11 February and criminal charges filed against the company at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

In the second case, a GSM telecom services providing giant has been dragged before a Federal High Court in Enugu on criminal charges of polluting drinking wells at Nkpologwu district at Emene, Enugu as a result of used diesel from its base station draining and seeping into people’s wells, contrary to extant laws and regulations.

EFCC TO PROSECUTE EX-GOV.ODILI OVER N100BN LOOT …N25bn Investment In Arik Air

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is believed to be finalizing arrangements to prosecute the immediate past governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili. To this end, the anti-graft agency has assigned its officials to validate an initial report of the agency put together after an investigative process in 2006.
At the heart of the criminal misconducts thrown up by the EFCC investigative panel in 2006 is how the then governor, Dr. Odili, actively used an associate, Mr. Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, the man famously known to be the owner of Arik Air, to loot sums estimated to be over N100billion from the treasury of the state.
The EFCC report trails the relationship between ex-Governor Odili and Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide thus:
“Prior to becoming a major contractor to the state government in 2000, Mr. Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide was a shareholder of, and an executive director in, Negris Engineering Nigeria Limited. He worked for the company for over 18 years before leaving the company as a result of misunderstanding with other management staff, to form Rockson Engineering Nigeria Limited in 2000.
“While he was still with Negris, he provided an interface between Negris and Rivers State Government during which two major contracts were secured for the company. The contracts were the supply and installation of generating sets and transformer worth N401,016,101.00. The other contract was for the supply, construction and installation of turbine power station worth N4,256,076,000.00 in 2000.
The report notes that:
“The second contract was about 60 per cent completed when Mr. Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide left Negris and suddenly became the consultant to Rivers State on the same contract using his then newly formed company, Rockson Engineering Company Limited. The remaining payments for the Negris contract were routed through his company where the sum of N734,764,749.00 is yet to be remitted to Negris.”
The report adds that:
“The incorporation of Rockson Engineering Company Limited in 2000 immediately Arumemi-Ikhide left Negris marked the beginning of siphoning huge government fund that ran into several billions of Naira through gas turbine contract scam.”
The report highlights how several billions of Naira were transferred into accounts owned by Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide:
“Rivers State Government diverted the sum of N30,031,446,589.70 at various times to account number CA 6010914407 at Zenith Bank Plc belonging to Rockson Engineering Company Limited between January 07, 2004 and December 06, 2006. Investigations also reveals that Rockson Engineering has several bank accounts with Bank PHB, Sterling Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa, First Bank Plc, Intercontinental Bank Plc and Union Bank Plc. These banks were involved in the inflated contracts between Rockson Engineering and Rivers State Government.”
The EFCC report further notes that its investigations revealed that funds were diverted from Rivers State Government’s account to Rockson Engineering Limited, where it was transferred instalmentally between March 2005 and November 2006 from bank account number 6571020007472 with Union Bank Plc to the following companies.
a. Alpha System and Commodity Company Limited—N3,957,734,700.00
b. Sea Petroleum and Gas Company-N6,623,940,500.00
c. Peg Magreet Shipping and Trading Limited -N638,320,000.00
d. Wopat Nigeria Limited – N276,100,000
e. Dairy and Livestcok Limited – N281,000,000.00
f. Arula Investment Limited – N330,000,000.000
All totaling N12,107,105,000.00.”
The investigative report made more revelations on how Mr. Aruremi-Ikhide, who the report claims has a long lasting relationship with Dr. Odili which dates back to the 1980s, was used as the main front man for Dr. Odili.
“It has also been discovered that a parallel account called Account 2, account number 0130215431600, was opened with UBA Plc in the name of Rockson Engineering. Form 2001, when the account was opened to 2002, the sum of N12,064,988,787.61 was paid into the account from the Rivers State Government. Interestingly, Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide denied knowledge of the existence of this account. So far the sum of N12,059,602,734.20 has been withdrawn from the said account. This is clear evidence of direct looting of the treasury of Rivers State,” the report asserts.

While he was still with Negris, he provided an interface between Negris and Rivers State Government during which two major contracts were secured for the company. The contract were the supply and installation of generating sets and transformer worth N401,016,101.00. The other contract was for the supply, construction and installation of turbine power station worth N4,256,076,000.00 in 2000.

In direct reference to how Arik Air was funded and established, the report explains:
“It has also been established that Arumemi-Ikhide, the business partner of the Rivers State governor, is the owner of ARIK AIR LIMITED. He used money received from the Rivers States Government to acquire all the assets and aircraft of the company estimated to be worth over N25billion.”
Further establishing a direct link between Dr. Odili, Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide and Arik Air, the report submits that:
“The political and business relationship between Dr. Odili and Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide has become more obvious since the former’s declaration to run for the Presidency. Investigations conducted at various hotels, such as Transcorp Hilton, Le Meridien, Sheraton, etc; in Abuja revealed that the Odili Campaign Organization made bookings worth N130million through his campaign management team. The money came directly from the accounts of Arik Air Limited. The origin of the money is linked directly to Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide for Dr. Odili’s campaign.

To be concluded next edition.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.