03 September 2015, Abuja – The immediate past Minister for Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani K. Alison-Madueke, has dismissed the allegations made by the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria to the effect that as former minister, she “sat” on a $15 billion oil deal, describing it as spurious, unfounded and libelous.
Alison-Madueke, who spoke through her lawyers, Messers Chike Amobi and Co., said the High Commissioner Mr. Ajjampur R. Ghanashyam’s acrimony towards her was due to the refusal of the Federal Government of Nigeria to allow the Indian company, Oil and Gas Commission Videsh Limited (OVL), default on its contractual obligation to provide a $ 6 billion investment, (around RS 36, 600 crore) in an 180,000 barrels (bpd) Greenfield refinery and 2,000 megawatt power plant or railway line from East to West of Nigeria.
In a release made available to journalists in Abuja, the former minister said the publication by Ghanashyam to the effect that she delayed the approval of oil concession to twin Indian companies, Oil and Gas Commission Videsh Limited (OVL) and Mittal Energy International JV, OMEL (MITTAL) in 2006, after receiving a $25,000,000 signature bonus, was spurious, false and lacking in substance.
Madueke clarified that she was not the Minister of Petroleum Resources in 2006 when the said Indian companies entered into contractual agreement with the federal government and as such, wouldn’t have received any signature bonus either as a citizen or minister of the federal republic.
She also said she had no personal reason to sit on the contract and wondered why the high commissioner would choose to malign and attack her rather than commend her acting dispassionately in recommending for refund of the said signature bonus to the Indians when the matter was brought to her attention at the twilight of her tenure as minister.
She said: “When the issue of the request for refund made by OVL which was re-presented to me in May 2015, I immediately prepared and dispatched a letter dated May 13, 2015, Ref #: PI.LM/3900/S.693/Vol.1/78b to former President, Goodluck Jonathan, recommending for the refund of the said signature bonus in compliance with the relevant and extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which requires such approvals to be granted by the president, and implemented by the Federal Ministry of Finance.”
Alison-Madueke further explained that the federal government voided the contract with OVL because the company wanted the Federal Government of Nigeria to waive the commitments they made during the bidding process which included investing $6 billion (around RS 36,600 crore) in an 180,000 barrels per day (bpd) greenfield refinery, a 2000 megawatt power plant or a railway line from East to West of Nigeria, all of which were considered in granting the concession in the first place.
On the allegation that the Indian High Commission to Nigeria suggested that contrary to global best practices in the industry, Mrs. Alison-Madueke used intermediaries to receive payments for crude oil transactions with India, clearly imputing a fraudulent ill-feeling to the former minister’s operations, the former minister explained that the contract in question was a government to government crude oil sales transaction with established procedures which predates her tenure as minister.
She averred that the established procedure stipulates that the buying country, in this case India, selects and presents a local company as its agent to transact on its behalf as it is never the responsibility of selling country to select or nominate a company for the buying country.
She maintained that Nigeria never dictated nor suggested any intermediary or marketing company for India for the purposes of the said transaction.
Apparently, the Indian High Commission to Nigerian, mischievously obfuscated these facts to malign the former Nigerian petroleum minister, while not disclosing that it was a government to government crude sales transaction.
The former minister disclosed that what Ghanashyam neglected to inform Nigerians was that the oil concession was not granted to Oil and Gas Commission Videsh Limited (OVL) and Mittal Energy International JV, OMEL (MITTAL), due to inability of their subsidiary, EMO Exploration and Production, to meet cash obligation.
– – This Day