Forensic Assets Investigation and Recovery Services LLC (FAIR), says it has uncovered $69 billion (about N28.3tn) in illegal oil deals by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) stuck in American banks.
The American asset recovery firm said it could recover all the identified funds stuck in banks based in Texas, if Nigeria agreed to pay its expenses and compensation.
FAIR disclosed this in a confidential memo forwarded to the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIP).
The funds were believed to have been siphoned from undeclared crude oil sales under the Goodluck Jonathan administration allegedly by the NNPC officials and their collaborators in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
According to the report, 9 billion dollars of the total sum was allegedly traced to a bank account linked to late National Security Adviser (NSA), General Andrew Azazi, who died in a plane crash alongside the Governor of Kaduna State, Patrick Yakowa, in 2012.
FAIR’s memo was said to have informed a March 18, 2019 letter written by former SPIP Chairman, Okon Obono-Obla to President Muhammadu Buhari to seek his approval to authorise FAIR to commence the recovery of the funds.
“Mr President, we intend to work together with the Americans in order to secure the recovery of the definite $9bn within 3-5 months they stated and to engage them to see and recover the larger part of the estimated $60bn-$80bn stolen from Nigeria during the oil boom. Also, to engage the NNPC and the CBN in the overall recovery of those funds in the United States.
“Our prayers to the President are: To approve the engagement of the American company to recover the funds and assets in the US and to approve the support of the visiting American firm to integrate software technology in the CBN in order to trace fraud funds.
“To approve the presence of interface offices of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel in NNPC and the CBN. Your Excellency, the immediate recovery of the identified $9bn within the stated timeframe of 3-5 months will totally eliminate borrowing to fund the 2018 budget deficit and sustain the 2019 budget,” the letter was said to have read in part.
However, the matter was said to have been abandoned after President Buhari removed Obono-Obla and directed the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, to take over the affairs of the SPIP. (The Herald)