EFCC arraigns Atlantic Energy boss, ex NNPC GMD, others for money laundering
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned the boss of Atlantic Energy Limited, Jide Omokore and Andrew Yakubu, a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja on four-count charges of money laundering.
Others defendants are: Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, David Mbanefo, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited.
National Daily gathered that the last administration under Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 allegedly gave Atlantic Energy Limited alongside other companies multi billion dollar worth of public assets without due process.
As at the time, the company, which was barely a year old and had no history of producing a droplet of oil, was awarded controlling stakes in two lucrative oil blocks – OML 30 and 34 – for just over $50 million each.
The deal, which was signed by the immediate past minister of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, gave Atlantic Energy Limited a controlling 55 percent stake in the oil block.
The company which was incorporated as Atlantic Drilling Energy Concept Limited on July 19, 2010, signed a Strategic Alliance Agreement with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) shortly afterwards.
Under the agreement, Atlantic took charge of four oil blocks- OML 26 FHN, OML 30 Shoreline, OML 34 Niger-Delta Oil and OML 42 Neconde. It was to provide funds, technical services, drill and sell crude oil.
The company was also accused of lifting crude oil, but remitting only a fraction of its worth to government.
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In 2012, according to the NNPC, Atlantic Energy paid $168m into government account, but lifted about three million barrels – valued at over $350 million.
In 2013, it also lifted about two million barrels of crude valued at about $240million, but paid only $68million.
Similarly, in 2014, Atlantic Energy paid zero cash-call, but lifted about 500,000 barrels of crude oil, valued at $54 million.
Mr. Yakubu was the GMD of the NNPC between 2012 and 2014 when Atlantic Energy lifted oil without remitting what was due to government.
The EFCC had earlier raided the business premises of Mr. Omokore, making away with documents and computers, questioning Omokore about the controversial multi-dollar crude export deals.
Recall that the Federal Government had last week approached a Federal High Court in Lagos, asking it to freeze both local and foreign assets of Mr. Omokore, and Kola Aluko for their roles in the money laundering saga.