Reports by the Cable newspapers suggest that the funds recovered from an Ikoyi apartment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may have been withdrawn from one of Nigeria’s Joint venture Accounts.
Prior to this
The EFCC had in April 2017, stormed an apartment on Osborne road, Ikoyi where $43 million, N23.2 million and £27,800 ) was recovered. Investigations revealed that the apartment belonged to the Mrs Folashade Oke, wife of Ambassador Ayodele Oke Director General (DG)l of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA). The NIA then claimed the funds recovered where for a covert operation.
Excerpts form the report as quoted by the Cable state that the funds were misapplied, and the withdrawal a breach of due process. The funds in question were paid directly to the then NIA DG Ayodele Oke, rather than the agency’s accounts.
“During the examination of the JVCC JP Morgan Chase Account and JVCC CBN Naira Account, it was observed that payments with amounts totaling $292,094,405.82 and N2,474,295,000.00 were made from the Joint Venture Cash call accounts for purposes outside the objectives for which the funds were provided for and thereby constituted misapplication of Federation Funds.
What is a Joint Venture (JV) operation ?
In a Nigerian petroleum joint venture, two or more oil companies enter into an agreement for joint development of jointly held oil prospecting licences or oil mining leases (OMLs) and facilities. Each partner in the joint venture contributes to the costs and shares the benefits or losses of the operations in accordance with its proportionate equity interest in the venture.
Each joint venture (JV) operates under Operating Agreement (JOA) with the NNPC and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Government. Nigeria currently has 6 Joint Venture agreements with Shell Mobil, Texaco, Agip, Elf, and Chveron as the operators.
Nigeria’s oil sector needs reforms
Nigeria’s oil sector has been closely associated with corruption, due to its opacity and a clear disregard for due process. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corproation (NNPC) for several years refused to publish audited accounts. Where such financial statements where released, they came quite late.
Who authorized the withdrawal from the Joint Venture account ? Has this been a practice predating the Jonathan administration, or did it institute the practice ?