48m stolen barrels of crude: A case of cross-border fraudster trying to dupe Nigeria – Ozekhome
The claim by Samano SA DE CV, an oil and gas trading company, that some 48 million barrels of crude oil were stolen from Nigeria and shipped to China in 2015 has been described as a case of international cross-border fraudsters trying to dupe Nigeria by getting some kind of compensation in the name of whistle-blowing.
Mike Ozhekome, a senior advocate of Nigeria, who appeared as a guest on Channels TV Sunrise Daily on Monday, explained that the said, “The allegation is baseless and does not add up with his own investigation and analysis of the matter.
“How can anyone claim that 46 million barrels of crude oil left the country for China? Which port did it pass through? Who sold it? Who bought it? And how did it get there? Where is the evidence to substantiate these claims?” he asked.
Recall that Samano SA DE CV had recently petitioned the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over what it termed failure of the corporation to pay it whistle-blowing percentage. The oil and gas company demanded a whistle-blower compensation fee of 5 percent, claiming it had in 2015 given the corporation reliable information on massive crude oil theft involving 48 million barrels that it claimed was stored in several ports and terminals in China.
In a July 23, 2020, letter from Lords and Temple titled ‘Formal request for the payment of 5 percent whistleblower compensation for information furnished in respect of crude oil stolen from the Federal Republic of Nigeria’, signed by Gboyega Oyewole, a senior advocate of Nigeria, on behalf of Samano SA DE CV, the legal firm said its client was approached in 2015 by a group in China with the intent to sell the stolen crude.
In the letter, addressed to the group managing director, NNPC, Mele Kyari, Lord and Temple said the crude was believed to have been stolen from Nigeria and stored in various ports and terminals in China. However, instead of indulging in the act of buying the stolen crude, the company reported the case to the NNPC.
But despite assurances to its client that investigations into the matter would be made as well as the award of due compensation to its client, the legal firm said, no payment had been made to its client since then.