Saturday, August 25, 2007

As the bell tolls for Odili

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As the bell tolls for Odili

Investigators from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are interrogating Lucius Nwosu (SAN) over his involvement with the former Governor of Rivers State Peter Odili.

The commission’s team of investigators are interested in digging up information about the operations of two oil companies, Cleanwaters Consortium and Orandi Petroleum. Both corporate entities have featured in the commission’s investigations of Odili’s alleged money laundering activities.

Mr. B.O. Ezenwa, Odili's brother-in-law, is the Vice Chairman of Cleanwaters, a consortium supposedly made up of Cleanwaters Refinery and RIVGAS Petroleum and Energy Limited. During the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency, the consortium was allocated oil blocks OPL 289 and OPL 233 during the 2005 and 2006 mini-bids. The awards reveal rampant fraud in the system Obasanjo used to dispose oil block allocations.

For example, the Obasanjo government declared that it was giving oil blocks to investors interested in building refineries.

However, a Cleanwaters document obtained by Saharareporters shows that the refinery criterion was a smokescreen to bestow oil blocks on the former president’s political associates of which Chief Peter Odili is a major one.

After Peter Odili was allocated a second oil block through his phony consortium and refinery, he quickly cobbled together a RIVGAS Petroleum and Energy Limited headed and managed by Okey Ezenwa (his brother-in-law) and Lucius Nwosu (SAN). $10 million was promptly withdrawn from the coffers of Rivers State to pay the Signature Bonus.

They also put together a management team to fool foreign investors. Princewill Adowei, described by the consortium as the “Head of IT & Business Development,” admitted to our reporters that he has not been involved in the management of Cleanwaters Consortium after the company won the oil block. Mr. Adowei said he was given a nominal role as a "consultant" to the consortium.

Cleanwaters Consortium is the second oil company in which Odili has controlling interests. Prior to the oil block allocations to Cleanwaters, the former governor was also involved as a chief partner with Mr. Arumemi-Johnson in Orandi Petroleum.

Arumemi-Johnson was the major contractor to the Rivers State government in a power plant construction project that has become the biggest source of corruption in Rivers State.

In 2002, Peter Odili hijacked Orandi Petroleum from Arumemi-Johnson. Arumemi-Johnson has told close confidants that Odili’s takeover of Orandi was illegal, but that he could not do anything about it because Odili constantly blackmailed him with the power plant projects.

When Orandi Petroleum got foreign partners to pay $7 million as the Signature Bonus for OPL 320, Odili and his cronies allegedly embezzled the money and shoved Arumemi-Johnson aside.

According to our sources, both Okey Ezenwa and Lucius Nwosu (SAN) are confessing to their roles in running the two companies under EFCC investigation.

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