The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has clarified that it did not lose 48 million barrels of crude oil to theft, describing an allegation that such quantity of crude oil was stolen and shipped to China as a failed attempt by officials of a Mexican firm to extort, intimidate and defraud the corporation.
In fact, it said, there was no stolen Nigerian crude oil anywhere in China.
Consequently, lawyers to the state-owned oil firm, Afe Babalola and Co., had said the corporation had concluded arrangements to sue an oil trading firm, Samano Sa De CV, for making several unsubstantiated claims against it.
NNPC has also described the company that made the allegation of stolen crude oil as “an international crime syndicate.”
The company had written the NNPC demanding a five per cent reward for ‘exposing’ the alleged diversion and theft of 48 million barrels of crude oil valued at over $2 billion.
It said despite the assurances of the reward, some government and NNPC officials sold the products with the proceeds not remitted to the government’s coffers, while the corporation also refused to pay the five per cent.
But in a statement signed on behalf of the NNPC by the law firm, the corporation noted that the entire episode was replete with falsehoods, offensive and a failed move at gold-digging.
According to the corporation, Samano first contacted officials of the federal government in 2015, indicating that it had been approached by an unnamed group in China to buy 48 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil, which they believed to have been stolen from Nigeria.
It said Samano requested that it be allowed to purchase the stolen crude after its recovery, adding that shortly after, the company indicated that it was no longer interested in buying as it only obliged the government with the information to assist the Buhari administration’s fight against corruption.
Follow us on Twitter at @thesignalng
Copyright 2020 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to www.signalng.com and other relevant sources.