Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing him of presiding over similar “rogue” administration with looting continuing “unabated.”
Falana rehearsed earlier letter to the President and threatened legal action if he goes ahead to borrow $2 billion from China instead of recovering over $200 billion stolen by some government officials or from companies withholding what they should have remitted to government.
Falana said in the letter: “The unprecedented looting of the public treasury via the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) took place under the regime of President Goodluck Jonathan. This has continued unabated under the President Buhari who is currently waging a war against corruption.”
He added: “A firm of auditors revealed that out of the sum of $6.4 billion realised from the sale of crude oil and gas by the Federal Government in the first quarter of 2016, the NNPC remitted only $2 billion to the Federation Account and withheld the colossal sum of $4.2 billion. Up till now, the NNPC has not explained how much of the sum of $4.2 billion was spent on its operations in 3 months.”
In a letter the senior lawyer sent through Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, entitled, “Request for the collection of Outstanding Revenue of $200 billion Withheld From The Federation Account or Stolen By Looters,” Falana urged Buhari to recover “the revenue of $42 billion withheld from the Federation Account from 1999-2012 by some transnational oil companies, the NNPC and other agencies of the Federal Government.
The legal luminary said the government should rely on reports from the National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative confirming that from five cycles of independent audit reports covering 1999-2012, NNPC, some oil companies and certain agencies of the Federal Government had withheld $20.2 billion for the Federation Account. The indicted oil companies and agencies should be made to remit the said sum of $20.2 billion into the Federation Account.”
He also urged Buhari to recover $7 billion granted to 14 Nigerian banks in 2006 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“In 2008, the CBN also gave a bailout of N600 billion ($4 billion) to the banks. The indebted banks should be asked to repay the $11 billion loan,” he urged the government.
Other money he asked the Buhari government to recover was the 2016 $9.6 billion in over-deducted tax benefits from joint venture partners on major capital projects and oil swap contracts from NNPC and outstanding balance of $1.9 billion from Mobil for the renewal of licences.
“From 1998-2014 the Federal Government collected over $4 billion from the over $5 billion stolen from the vaults of the CBN by a former military ruler, the late General Sani Abacha. The governments of the United States and Switzerland have promised to repatriate $458 million and $321 million respectively recovered from the loot,” he pointed out.
He said by virtue of Section 5 of the Deep Offshore Inland Sharing Contract Decree 1999, “the payment of royalty in respect of the Deep Offshore production sharing contracts shall range from 4 to 12 per cent while no royalty shall be paid whatsoever in areas in excess of 1000 metres depth! Since the 15-year period for non-payment of royalties expired in June 2014, they should collect arrears of royalties running to hundreds of millions of dollars owed by the oil and gas companies operating in the area.”
“The Federal Government should recover the contract sum of $470 million from ZTE, (a Chinese company) over the failed construction of CCTV cameras in Abuja and Lagos,” he also urged.
The letter further said: “On July 6, 2012 the Supreme Court of Nigeria set aside the fraudulent sale of the Federal Government-owned Aluminum Smelting Company of Nigeria (ASCON) located in Akwa Ibom State to RUSAL for $250 million and directed the company be sold to BFIG, the winner of the bid for $410 million.
“The Federal Government should direct the National Council on Privatisation to comply with the judgment. The Federal Government stands to realise an additional sum of $160 million from the sale.”