The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has vowed to take legal action against a Mexican international oil firm, SAMANO SA DE CV, and its officials over attempts to swindle the Nigerian government of over $125 million.
The NNPC accused SAMANO of being a crime syndicate over failed attempt by the officials of the Mexican firm to extort, intimidate and defraud the corporation and the federal government.
According to Premium Time, a statement issued by the counsel to the NNPC, Afe Babalola, said the management of the national oil company has already initiated plans to seek redress “for the injury to the Corporation and its officials through series of falsehoods peddled by SAMANO and its agents”.
Last Sunday, reports circulated about how some Nigerian government officials and NNPC staff allegedly sold about 48 million barrels of stolen Nigeria crude oil and shared the proceeds.
The report quoted contents of a recent correspondence to NNPC by the law firm of Messrs. Lords & Temple claiming to be Solicitors to SAMANO SA DE CV.
In the letter signed by Gboyega Oyewole, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the law firm said its client was accusing the Nigerian government officials and NNPC of reneging on an agreement to pay it 5 per cent of ‘whistleblower compensation’ for information furnished them over an oil deal.
Mr Oyewole made reference to discussions between SAMANO SA DE CV and the officials involved in 2015 over an information about 48 million barrels of Nigerian Bonny Light Crude Oil allegedly stolen from Nigeria and stored in various ports and terminals in the People’s Republic of China.
The law firm said SAMANO, led by its top officials, Messrs Marco Ramirez Ramirez and Jose Salazar Tinajero, had contacted the senior officials of the Nigeria government with an offer to purchase the alleged stolen oil apparently abandoned by some unknown persons.
Although they claimed the officials used the information provided, which led to the sale of the crude oil, SAMANO said it was neither carried along in the sharing of the proceeds from the sale, nor were they paid the agreed 5 per cent whistleblower compensation.
However, the NNPC through its lawyers, said not only were the reports replete with falsehoods, they were calculated attempts by SAMANO, working in concert with its local and international agents, to intimidate, blackmail and extort money from the Nigerian government and NNPC.
Meanwhile, Italian prosecutors are seeking a ten-year prison sentence for Nigeria’s former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, over an allegedly corrupt Nigerian oil block deal.