Indian ambassador exposes ex-Petroleum minister's shady deal

In the report, the high commissioner gave a full detail of how the former minister ensured funds from the oil deal between the two countries are paid to intermediaries and not directly to the government coffers.

 

The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ajjampur R. Ghanashyam, has revealed some of the shady deals that has inhibited the country's oil transaction under the watch of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison Madueke.

According to a report by Daily Trust, the former petroleum minister failed to sign  a long-term agreement with New Delhi, Nigeria’s Number One oil buyer, so as to indulge intermediaries in the annual $14 billion deal.

'From other countries, when we buy oil, whatever we want to pay, we pay to the Ministry of Finance of that country. In Nigeria, we pay to intermediaries. We would like to be dealing directly with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It’s not a good thing. Why should we go through intermediaries? Secondly, we would also like to have long term agreement, which we have with many countries: Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other countries from where we buy oil. Nigeria is the only country with whom we don’t have an agreement. .. When we write a letter to NNPC, we don’t get a response.'

Furthermore, Ghanashyam revealed that aside the lack of long-term agreement between the two countries on crude oil purchases, an Indian company, Oil & Natural Gas Commission Videsh Limited (OVL) and Mittal Energy International, applied for oil concession in 2006 but are yet to get the permission nor $25m signature bonus, which was paid by the company.

In his words, 'How many years is it? Nine years. Even to get the concession is not possible, and the money is not refunded to us. For nine years your country has been sitting on this, and they make us go round and round and round.

'We buy $15 billion worth of crude oil per year and we have the potential of importing $50 billion worth of crude oil from Nigeria. We can buy more because our requirement is going up. But if you continue to make us to pay through agents, and continue to ask us to buy from the swap market, it means you don’t trust us, and if you don’t trust us, we have to look for those who trust us more.

'We are making concessions to Nigeria by buying your crude oil because you’re our old friends and we’ve been friends for a long time, and your crude oil is better quality. But you must take our interest into account,'he revealed further.

However, Daily Trust reports that investigation conducted at the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Abuja revealed that the letter for the signature bonus was prepared by the department, but the former minister failed to sign it until the end of the tenure of the Jonathan administration.

Meanwhile, the NNPC 2014 Annual Statistical Bulletin indicated that India bought 136,419,844 barrels of crude oil, at a time when the United States’ own purchases from Nigeria was 24,047,758.

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