Three major players in Nigeria’s oil sector – Kola Adesina, Onajite Okoloko and Abubakar Tambuwal – have been linked to the $115 million (N63 billion) allegedly distributed as bribes to some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission by former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, during the 2015 general elections.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke, who is currently in the UK where she is being investigated for money laundering, allegedly gave the bribes to the officials in the build-up to the elections to ensure the re-election of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mr. Jonathan was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the March 28, 2015 presidential election.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Cross River State, Gesil Khan, who was then in Rivers State, allegedly got N185, 842, 000 from the money.
Others allegedly bribed were Fidelia Omoile (Electoral Officer in Isoko-South Local Government Area of Delta State) — N112,480,000; Uluochi Brown ( INEC’s Administrative Secretary in Delta State) — N111,500,000; a former Deputy Director of INEC in Cross River State, Edem Effanga —N241,127,000 and the Head of Voter Education in INEC in Akwa Ibom, Immaculate Asuquo — N214,127,000.
The EFCC believes the $115 million was provided by Northernbelt Gas Company, Midwestern Oil and Gas, Auctus Integrated Investment Limited and Lenoil Company limited, all of which allegedly paid the money to Fidelity Bank before the funds were distributed to the electoral officials involved in the scam.
The Commission also said it believed the $115 million came from the proceeds of stolen crude oil.
The Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Nwankwo, who used his bank to distribute the funds, was recently arrested by the EFCC.
Mr. Okoloko is a director at Midwestern Oil and Gas Company, while Mr. Tambuwal is a director at Northernbelt Oil and Gas Limited.
Officials of the anti-graft agency hinted that except Leno Adesanya of Lenoil, who has been interrogated in connection with the payment, the others had refused to “show up”.
Bribing for contracts?
Mr. Adesina, a close ally of former President Jonathan, led Sahara Energy’s quest to acquire the Egbin power plant in Lagos, the country’s biggest power generation plant.
Mr. Okoloko, who was also the chief executive officer and managing director of Oando Energy Services at Oando PLC, allegedly fronted for the convicted former Delta State governor, James Ibori, to purchase Notore Fertiliser Company, where he serves as chief executive Officer.
Mr. Tambuwal, who is also a director in another Oil and Gas firm, Aiteo Limited, recently led a delegation of the company to Kebbi State where the state government released about 10,000 hectares of land for the cultivation and production of rice.
Sources in the EFCC said the election cash made available by the oil barons between January and April 2015 contravened the Money Laundering Act, while the intent and purpose of the monies contravenes the anti-corruption Act.
This newspaper also gathered that once arrested, the businessmen may face multiple charges including offering bribe to the former petroleum minister with a view to securing lavish contracts and for bribing INEC officials to distort the emergence of the opposition party at that time to succeed the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan.
We further learnt that Auctus integrated company gave $17,884,000, while Northern Belt Gas Company deposited $60 million and Midwestern Oil and Gas, contributed $9.5 million.
The fourth company, Lenoil, deposited $1.85million, our sources said, while Mr. Okonkwo received $26million in cash from Mrs. Alison-Madueke.
After receiving the funds, according to investigator, Mrs. Diezani disbursed the money to some election officials and monitors.
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted Midwestern Oil and Gas for a reaction to the allegations against the company, a female voice who answered the telephone, simply said she was in the “front office” and that she had “no clearance” to speak on the matter.
When we requested to speak to anyone with clearance, she asked for some time and returned to say “We are sorry no one is available to talk to you now.”
We also made frantic efforts to speak with an official of Northernbelt Gas Company without success. When we visited the address listed in registration documents as head office of the company in Abuja, we found that it was a private residence and the occupants told us they had no knowledge of any firm called Northernbelt Gas Company.
We also tried to speak with Mr. Tambuwal, the director of the company, but several calls were unsuccessful. He also did not respond to the text message sent to him.
Profile of the companies
Northernbelt Gas Company was incorporated on February 2, 2012, with Registration number RC 1007819. The company had No. 5 Gidado Abu Road in Finance Quarters, Wuye Abuja, as its corporate headquarters.
It has as directors: Oluwole Charles, Ifediba Innocent Praise, Jigo Faustina and Shehu Abubakar Tambuwal.
The company’s documents showed that Mr. Tambuwal was made the company secretary on April 7, 2014.
Auctus Integrated Investments limited was incorporated on October 25, 2013 with a registration number 1147968 and has its corporate headquarters address as Block 5, Water corporation road, Ijora G.R. A. Lagos state.
At incorporation, the company had only two individuals as directors, Gray Ejiro and Osikoya Abike.
However, a “Deed of share transfer” was carried out on the same day the company was registered whereby the two initial directors, “Abike Osikoya” and “Ejiro Gray” both transferred’ all but one of the entire 1, 000,000 shares of the company to Mr. Adesina.
By that arrangement Mr. Adesina therefore, became the largest shareholder of the company with 999,999 as a director, while, Osikoya, with 1 ordinary share is the other director.
The third company, Midwestern Oil and Gas, was initially registered as a company owned by the government of Delta state on 15 December 1999 during the administration of James Ibori as governor.
The company was registered with 50 million shares, which was increased to 150 million shares in 2012.
Its registration number is RC: 370639.
The permanent secretaries in the state’s Ministries of Commerce, Tourism and Cooperation, that of Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning as well as the Solicitor General+ and permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Delta State, were the initial directors. Company documents at the CAC show that the company changed directors over 20 times since its incorporation in 1999.
Currently, 50 million shares belonging to the company are owned by 19 other companies. There is also no document to show who owns the remaining 100 million shares belonging to Midwestern Oil and gas limited. The company however, currently has as directors, Onajite Okoloko, Adams Okoene, Charles Odita, Gbesimi Akperi, Kweku Mensah Sagoe and Chrisehi Omoru. Others are Kennedy Uwagboe, Chukwuemeka Okwuosa and Victor Okolo.