$1.6 billion scam: Ex-NNPC boss, Yakubu, testifies against Omokore

$1.6 billion scam: Ex-NNPC boss, Yakubu, testifies against  Omokore
December 09 10:29 2016

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has opened its case against a former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, chairman of Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited, Jide Omokore, and others for alleged criminal diversion of funds.

The anti-graft commission charged the accused nine counts of criminal diversion of about $1.6bn alleged to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government.

The EFCC also brought a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,  Andrew Yakubu,  before the Federal High Court in Abuja as the first prosecution witness.

Led by the lead prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the witness who was the GMD of the NNPC, when the controversial transactions took place, indicted Omokore and his companies in the scam.

Yakubu was a co-defendant in the case before the charge was recently amended by the EFCC.

He shed light on the nature of his engagement with the NNPC, which involved the strategic direction of NNPC and all its subsidiaries, including the Port Harcourt refinery, Warri refinery, Kaduna refinery, Pipelines and Products Marketing Company Limited (PPMC), Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL) and National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS).

“In 2013 to 2014, the MD of NPDC, Mr. Victor Briggs (the fourth defendant) came to me and raised some concerns in relation to assets OML 60 series in relation to the strategic alliance agreement between Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited and NPDC, citing inability of Atlantic Drilling to meet payment obligations.

He told me that he was already looking into the issue and will get back to me. I told him to stop further lifting until the issue is reconciled. I called the Group General Manager of Crude Oil Marketing Department (COMD) and told him to stop further lifting until the issue had been resolved”.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources wrote a letter to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources and I, and set up a committee to investigate the issue. The fourth defendant (Briggs) was removed from NPDC and reassigned to IDSL. Mr. Membere, who was the Director-General, Exploration and Production; Tony Madichie, the Company Secretary in charge; Acting EG, Dr. Dawa and Company Secretary, Mr. Ike, were also part of the committee that compiled the report. Before they completed, however, I was also retired from service,” he said.

He continued: “We got to know later that NAPIMS made a cash call but I also issued instructions for them to stop. I also made sure that whatever fund that NAPIMS had paid was refunded to the federation account by the NNPC”.

At this point, the defense counsel, Rafiu Lawal-Rabana, applied for an adjournment for cross-examination and he was obliged.

The matter was consequently adjourned to January 20, 2017 and February 3, 2017 for continuation of trial.