Monday, July 26, 2021

Nigeria to lose $4.5 billion in Malabu oil deal, says expert

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Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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The acting chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has given assurances that the commission is revving up its investigations into the Malabu Oil Scandal, and those complicit will be prosecuted.

Mr Magu gave the assurance while receiving some documents from the president, Resource for Development Consulting,Don Hubert, on November 29, 2018 at the EFCC Headquarters, Abuja.

Mr Hubert, an extractive industries analyst, analyzed the terms and conditions for the sale of the controversial Oil Prospecting Lease, OPL 245, otherwise known as Malabu Oil Block, to Shell and Eni.

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In the report, Hubert, pointed out that at least one third of the value of the oil block, which comes from fiscal concessions in the 2011 Resolution Agreement, RA, between Nigeria and the operators of the block, essentially takes away oil profit from the government and the Nigerian people.

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While receiving the report, Mr Magu promised to ensure that it is thoroughly dealt with.

“We shall constitute a committee to digest it so that investigation can be extended to all grey areas and charges brought or amended against the suspects accordingly”, he said.

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Mr Magu added that the EFCC was taking its time to investigate the scandal, so that “a water tight case” will be made before prosecution.

According to the Canada-based analyst, the organization has helped countries, rich in oil and gas to get a fair share of the revenue, analyze oil contracts and build economic models, ultimately forecast government revenue. “The 2011 RA will result in the loss of revenue to the Nigerian people and government to the tune of at least $4.5 billion”.

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“The reason for the losses is the core relevant of a production sharing contract, the share of profit to the government has been removed from this particular deal,” he said, explaining further that “as it stands today, Nigeria will lose between $6 billion and N10 billion to the deal, which is now being investigated outside Nigeria”.

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He explained that the result of their findings indicated an estimate minimum loss of $4.5billion as a result of the 2011 deal.

Chairman of HEDA Resource Centre, Olarewaju Suraju, a “corruption hunter”, and one of the partners in the team that produced the findings on the OPL 245, commended the efforts of the EFCC in the fight against corruption.

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Mr Suraju who said they prepared the damning finding to enable the Nigerian government identify and punish the individuals and organizations involved in the oil scam explained that all hands must be on deck to stop further pillage of the nation’s oil revenue.

“It is the strong recommendation of HEDA and the partners that the OPL 245 license should be revoked and we now have both economic and legal basis to challenge the deal”, he said.

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