Top NNPC Officials, PDP Chieftains Fingered in Crude Oil Theft

French Ship, MT Vannessa, used for the Oil Theft

 

  • Two of the vessels used for stealing Nigeria’s crude oil are said to be owned by two PDP chieftains.

Some high ranking Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members and top officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are being investigated for allegedly masterminding the stealing of about 6.5 million barrels of Nigeria’s crude oil.

Also, two oil marketers are suspected to be part of the thieving ring are are being questioned by investigators.

Already, six new suspects, including four additional Filipinos and two Russians had been arrested for the theft. Six crew members of the French ship, MT Vannessa, used for the theft were arrested on June 21 when the vessel was impounded with the stolen oil.

The arrested suspects were said to have mentioned the names of the NNPC officials and four other ships involved in the theft ring. Two of the vessels were said to be owned by two chieftains of the PDP.

Saturday PUNCH had exclusively reported on June 23 that the French ship was impounded on June 21 for allegedly stealing 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day from June 9 till the day it was impounded.

President Goodluck Jonathan, our correspondents learnt, had asked for the report of the investigation into the theft and had vowed to deal decisively with anybody found culpable as a deterrent to other criminals in the oil sector.

The Saturday PUNCH report had also indicated that that the suspects in their statements indicted some political office holders, fuel marketers, some officials of the NNPC and the Department of Petroleum Resources.

The Director of Naval Information, Commodore Kabiru Aliyu, had on Friday confirmed the ship was impounded was being anchored at the Port Harcourt anchorage.

On Wednesday, a member of the naval special squad which impounded a ship confirmed that the Presidency had demanded for a report on the matter.

The source said, “The President is interested in the matter because of the increasing theft of crude oil.

“Anytime from now, there will be a meeting involving the Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and top security officials. This matter cannot be swept under the carpet.

“Six more suspects have been arrested and two NNPC and two oil marketers have been declared wanted now.

“We are making progress in our investigation. The suspects had named four other ships that were involved in the illegal bunkering. In fact they said two of the ships are owned by two top politicians in the country.”

Our correspondents gathered that security agents, including naval officers and officials of the National Maritime and Administration and Safety Agency and a private security firm, Global West Vessel Specialist, had taken over the ship as part of the investigation.

Our correspondent however learnt that before the arrival of security agents on Wednesday, an oil cartel, comprising oil marketers and NNPC officials, had made desperate efforts to erase past records of the ship as part of moves to thwart investigations.

It was also gathered that the cartel made efforts to get the statements of two of the arrested crew members.

Other items that the cartel was looking for included the ship log book, noon report, oil record book, last port of call, and tank sample paper, which would indicate the last volume of oil loaded by the ship.

The naval officer, who confided in our correspondents, said, “Investigations would have been hampered if they were able to get those items,” adding that the members of the cartel went into hiding on learning that security agents were on their way to the Port Harcourt anchorage.”

The Federal Government had on several occasions expressed concern about the theft of crude oil.

Alison-Madueke, at a round table on crude oil production and the state of the oil industry in Nigeria on May 18 in Lagos, had said that the country was losing $7bn yearly to crude oil theft.

“The country is losing approximately 180,000 barrels of oil equivalent daily at this time. Of course, to the nation, if you look at the international cost of a barrel, it will be estimated at $7bn yearly,” the minister had said.

When contacted, Aliyu told one of our correspondents that the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ola Ibrahim, would brief the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) today on the impounded ship.

“The Chief of Naval staff will appear before the committee tomorrow (today). It is better you wait and hear from the horse’s mouth,” he said.

The committee had on Tuesday asked the Nigerian Navy to hand over the ship to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The committee said that this would prevent a situation where Nigerians would be told that the ship had disappeared.

Curiously, Aliyu, late on Wednesday said the impounded vessel had no oil in it.

He said, “The Captain of the ship is Doliteanu Danut Laurentiu. It departed from Lome Port and arrived Akassa on the June 5 and 6.”

“MT Vanessa sailed seaward to resist arrest by NNS Zaria. Thereafter, NNS Zaria commenced surveillance towards the bridge of MT Vanessa. Then NNS Thunder was sailed in to reinforce the arrest of MT Vanessa.

“The vessel later complied and was escorted by NNS Zaria to Bonny. NNS Zaria handed it over to the Nigerian Navy Forward operating Base in Bonny.”

He, however, claimed that no crude oil was discovered in the ship. “The various storage tanks of the vessel were sounded to confirm products on board, However, no petroleum product was found on Vannesaa.”

-Punch News

Tags from the story
crude oil, crude oil theft, nnpc, pdp

4 Comments

  • pls its high Nigerians learn hw to b straight forward in everythg we do. Hw can we end such an encouraging story with discouragement. Earlier it was reported dat d vessel MT VANESSA was impounded with d stolen oil, but at d end of d report, it was now reported dat Mr Aliyu said dat there is no oil found onboard d vessel. Who is lieing or who is now d thief?

  • Truth is bitter, that is why the truth is not told… Let Nigerians 4get about this issue because the criminals can never be revealed.. Those investigating the Thieves are also thieves… Transparency and transformation is a dream in Nigeria that will take only the grace of God to come to fulfilment.. Nigerians shine ya eye o..

    Pls note that i, the writer is solely responsible for this publication.

    Thanks,
    Yours Sincerely.
    Profrichuyai

  • Dear Readers and Fellow Compatriots… It’s now time that we should come together as one and ask our Leaders some questions.. Who is the President of Nigeria? Sorry to ask. Yes i’m an Ijaw man! The man who is called the president is an Ijaw man, the Oil in question is in Ijaw land. And, the president is doing nothing about the problem, yes because it has nothing to do with his living standard. He is rich already, feeding from the Nigeria wallet as well as benefiting from the Stolen oil. The leaders are not there by virtue of merit rather through fraudulent means.
    And, on the side of the Fellowers, before/during election is the time to chose leadership, (good or bad) instead of chosing and voting for the right person, Nigerians will prefer collecting “tokens” from this corrupt ones thereby exchanging their rights for slavery. Thereafter, when these criminals have successfuly gamble their way in and begin to exibit their evil intentions. That is when the so-called Nigerian masses will cryout for help, after selling their birthright out of greed!

    But, there is hope!! Enough is enough.. Lets us work together in one accord by 2015 and decide for ourselve whom to be our leaders. The right time is Now!
    God bless Nigeria!
    God bless my dear Readers!

    Pls note that i, the writer is solely responsible for this publication..
    For further info. Contact me@ prof4cashnfun@yahoo.com or profrichuyai@facebook.com or profrichuyai/twitter.com.. Or call 08175655401…

    Thanks,
    Yours Sincerely,
    Prof Rich Uyai

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