Oil swap deal: ‘AITEO not involved in $150m fraud’

The management of AITEO Group has denied involvement in any $150 million shady deal in crude oil-for-refined-products-exchange programme.

The firm’s clarification came as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC ) intensified investigation into the alleged oil-swap scandal in the petroleum sector.

AITEO said it has submitted relevant documents to the EFCC and the Department of State Security Service (DSS) to prove that its crude oil-for-refined-products-exchange programme had been transparent

The EFCC recently started investigation into how the Federal Government was allegedly short-changed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in swapping crude for refined products.

The company, in a statement in Abuja by its spokesperson, Miss Aiki Odiawa, said it had never acted as a front for former President Goodluck Jonathan and ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

It said its transactions with NNPC required quarterly reconciliation to determine all crude oil loaded and refined products delivered.

The statement read in part: “Executive Management of AITEO makes reference to three publications of April 28, 2014, June 10, 2015; and June 7, 2015 (Oil Traders, NNPC Officials Interrogated, watch-listed in Major Investigations) in which spurious allegations were made about the company and one of our founders, Mr. Benedict Peters.

“Without prejudice to any legitimate fact-find process lawfully authorised by Nigerian authorities, as a corporate entity whose success has been as a result of dynamism, foresightedness and fortitude, it is pertinent that clarification is made to the general public on the position of AITEO.

“AITEO in collaboration with Duke Oil participated in both the SWAP crude oil-for-refined-products-exchange programme and Offshore Processing (OPA) Agreement, which are both governed by robust legally binding agreements with provisions for strict commercial considerations backed by the necessary financial instruments to mitigate and manage potential risks of transactions of this nature.

“AITEO’s participation in the programmes was premised upon AITEO having fulfilled all requirements precedent to being nominated and gaining the objective confidence of the Management of NNPC on its strong competence and ability to deliver on the said contracts as and when due.

“Never at any point has AITEO unfairly exploited its commercial relationship with NNPC under the SWAP or OPA contracts.

“Further allegations that AITEO was more than 20 cargoes in arrears on the new deal are completely false.

“In fulfillment of our outstanding obligation on the Duke Oil SWAP and contracts, we have decided to nominate two cargo deliveries to fully liquidate any outstanding deliveries due to PPMC.

“However, should there still exist a deficit after reconciling positions, where there is an over delivery, PPMC will issue a credit note in favour of AITEO and if AITEO should have any outstanding, this will either be deducted from on-going cash calls due AITEO from AITEO/NNPC Joint Venture or an outright remittance as the case may be.

“The Board of AITEO has taken the decision to wind down this Duke Oil SWAP and OPA contract promptly and bring its business relationship with Duke Oil to a closure.

“It should be noted that AITEO’s OPA with NNPC requires a reconciliation meeting to take place between the parties on a quarterly basis for all crude oil loaded and refined products delivered.”

The statement added that a reconciliation meeting has been scheduled to ascertain what each party has delivered so far.

“In light of this development, the fully reconciled position should be determined soon.

“Therefore allegations that AITEO ‘apparently gulped down $150 million’ are not only baseless but aimed to slur the name of the company,” the statement added.

The post Oil swap deal: ‘AITEO not involved in $150m fraud’ appeared first on The Nation.

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