Reps probe alleged loss of $2.4bn revenue from illegal sale of 48m barrels of crude oil

By Oke Peter
The House of Representatives yesterday resolved to constitute an ad hoc committee to investigate the whistle-blower’s allegations of illegal sale of 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude in China in 2015 and the insurance status of the cargo.

The alleged illegal sale reportedly led to a loss of $2.4 billion in revenue to the country.

The House also resolved to investigate all crude oil exports and sales by Nigeria from 2014 till date with regard to quantity, insurance, revenue generated, remittances into the Federation Accounts or other accounts as well as utilisation of the revenue for the period under review.

It will also investigate all proceeds recovered through the Whistleblowers Policy and the level of compliance under the policy.

The move followed the adoption of the resolutions of a motion on the “Alleged Loss of over $2.4 billion in Revenue from Illegal Sale of 48 million Barrels of Crude Oil Export in 2015, including Crude Oil Exports from 2014 till date” sponsored by Isiaka Ibrahim.

The House said it was “aware of allegations by a whistleblower in July 2020 that he had, in July 2015 and in response to the current administration’s whistleblower policy, brought to the attention of a committee purportedly set up by the President for the recovery of missing crude oil exports, the existence of 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude oil in storage at several ports in China ostensibly under the authorisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the intention of parties in China and the NNPC to sell this cargo”.

The Green Chamber said it was also aware that the whistleblower claimed that the committee, which comprised very high-ranking officials of the administration and NNPC (some of whom he held meetings with) carried out an investigation and confirmed the existence of the cargo, but he discovered in October 2015 that the sale of this cargo had been initiated through unofficial channels and the eventual refusal of the committee to honour their agreement to pay 5 per cent value of the cargo in line with the terms of the whistleblower policy.

The House expressed worry that the allegations that the entire cargo of 48 million barrels of Bonny Light Crude was sold without the proceeds being remitted to the coffers of the country, which translated to a loss to the Nigerian State of over $2.4 billion, considering the 2015 global average crude oil price of $52 per barrel.

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