Sunday, September 02, 2007

A Jewish-American rogue called Marc Rich

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A Jewish-American rogue called Marc Rich

Details have emerge on how successive top level executives at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC connived with alien black market operators to under-report how much oil the country produces and exports everyday. In what maybe the mother of all looting escapades, the nation is estimated to have lost over $60 Billion in about eight years in a deal that may have included former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gaius Obaseki, Funso Kupolokun, Sena Anthony and a Jewish-American oil commodities dealer, Marc Rich.

In a development that started in the days of General Sani Abacha, late Nigerian despot, the NNPC refinery in Port-Harcourt was used as terminus for smuggling large quantities of Forcadoes Condensate, and others at give-away prices. Forcadoes Condensate, the crown jewel of oil product, is one of the most sought after crude in the world. And Nigeria has it in abundant quantity.

At press time, the asking price for a barrel of crude oil in the international market is $72. The smuggling cartel at the NNPC has been selling Nigerian crude through the Cameroonian channel for a ridiculous rock bottom price of $5 per barrel. gathered that when the Nigerian legislature held a public hearing on the missing billions and bunkering operations in 2001 and 2002, NNPC’s officials who testified did not say the whole truth on the illegal sales of Nigeria’s oil as an on-going development. In particular, Mr. Obaseki, the former Group Managing Director was said to have attempted to avoid testifying before the National Assembly committee. He would later reluctantly show up after he was threatened with a subpoena.

Sources explained that the only possible reason why Obaseki treated the House committee and it well publicized hearing with condescension was because he did not want to disrupt the secret smuggling network maintained by the past military and later inherited by former President Obasanjo.

Obasanjo had assumed full responsibilities in charge of the oil ministry and refused to name a substantive petroleum minister. All paper works, both open and secret, therefore came under the supervision of the Group General Manager, Corporate, Legal and Secretariat, Chief Sena Anthony. And she ensured that the secret smuggling arrangements involving Marc Rich through his company called Gencore International was retained.

Gencore was licensed to operate Ghana National Petroleum Corporation's 30,000 bpd and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) partner Napoil's 20,000 bpd for a total 150,000 bpd Rich who was once convicted for fraud in the United States renounced his U.S citizenship but pardoned by former Bill Clinton, made greater profit from the smuggling deals.

A document exclusively obtained by showed the movement of Nigeria’s crude from the Port-Harcourt refinery to the Cameroonian refinery in Limbe from where it is sold to Mr. Rich who in turn resells at the market price to Romania and some other Eastern European countries.

A highly placed sources at the NNPC stated that shortly after Rich’s company survived from the Obasanjo’s hammer, he netted over 90,000 bpd contract which merely ended up as a decoy for his much entrenched trans-border smuggling operations.

According to the documents “Cameroonian refinery has been a hub for smuggled crude from Nigeria’s Port-Harcourt refinery and one man who has enjoyed from this smuggled oil facilitated by top officials of the NNPC is one Marc Rich. He is a major commodities dealer who is well known in Romania and other Eastern European country for oil deals.”

On a good day Nigeria exports over 2 Million bpd of crude oil. The armed insurgency of angry youths in the Niger-Delta has led to a sharp drop to about 1.5Million bpd. The documents estimated that the smuggling ring illegally takes over 200,000 bpd from Nigeria. “From investigations, there is an estimated over 200,000 bpd smuggled from the port-Harcourt refinery to Cameroon and sold by NNPC’s appointed agents at black market prices.”

Only recently, the Federal Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, had issued a slammer against the NNPC over “missing invoices and discrepancies in sales recorded on Forcadoes Condensate for July.” The discrepancies were said to have occurred during the reign of Kupolokun as GMD.

Also, the Nigerian lawmakers that have always been viewed as idle and most unwilling to query executive recklessness may be heading for a very busy legislative season in that it would now shed it lame duck toga and possibly hold a hearing on oil smuggling in Nigeria, seek indictment of conniving officials and push for the appointment of an independent prosecutor that would seek justice on behalf of the millions of Nigerians who are denied access to the nation’s prosperity.

Efforts to spokesman to Mr. Rich proved abortive while the NNPC spokesman, Dr. Levi Ajounoma could not be reached as his phone was turned off.

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