Presidency blocks $2.15bn oil commission to private firm

Posted by News Express | 26 November 2019 | 864 times

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•Photo shows AGF Abubakar Malami

 Indications have emerged on how President Muhammadu Buhari blocked the alleged signing and ceding of an oil commission worth $2.15 billion by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to a private firm. An online newspaper, The Cable, yesterday revealed that following the judgement of the Supreme Court mandating the Federal Government to increase its share of revenue under Oil Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) whenever the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel in line with Section 16 (1) of the Deep Offshore Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act (DOIBPSCA), the Justice Minister engaged the services of a private firm to assist the government in the recovery of lost revenues. Malami is alleged to have engaged Trobell International Limited to help the government recover the debt from the oil companies.

The Federal Government had initially taken steps to recover $62 billion from International Oil Companies (OICs) for failure to meet their obligations since 2003. New Telegraph gathered that Trobell was to recover an estimated $43 billion unpaid arrears to Nigeria from the production sharing contracts (PSCs) with multinational companies, while the debt recovery agent commission was set at five per cent. The online medium reported that: “This means at the end of the debt recovery, Tobell would have pocketed $2.15 billion (N774 billion) as debt recovery fee.

However, in a letter by the President through his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, to the Attorney General, the president had ordered the termination of the debt recovery contract because of the ‘incredible’ commission. “In the letter, the Chief of Staff to the president, said Buhari has directed that the minister should immediately “comply with Mr. President’s directives of March 4, 2019, and terminate the Recovery Contract which the Ministry of Justice had signed with Trobell International Limited regarding the purported recovery of $43.747 billion from the PSCs pursuant to the consent judgement of the Supreme Court of April 5, 2018.” President Buhari was said to have been alarmed at the “staggering commission” to Trobell for simply writing letters of demand to the oil companies after the Supreme Court-ordered settlement of the dispute. Presidency sources revealed that President Buhari, who was alarmed by the development, questioned how Malami arrived at the five per cent commission for a recovery that the Federal Government can do by itself without engaging any company.

Nigeria had awarded PSCs to the multinational oil companies in 1993 for exploration in deep offshore and inland basis. The federation was supposed to automatically get more share of the oil revenue after a number of years, but the terms were not reviewed. Nigeria’s unpaid share of the revenue was estimated at $62 billion from 2008 to 2018 in a suit filed by the 36 states of the federation. The Supreme Court entered into a consent judgement in April 2018 as a final resolution of the dispute. Efforts to get the reaction of the Minister of Justice at the time of filing in this report did not yield any result as calls put to his mobile phone number were not answered.


(New Telegraph)

Source: News Express

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