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$125 Bn Fraud: Forensic investigators challenge FG on the recovery from IOCs

*Say letters to President, Finance Minister blocked by rogue conspirators

*Insists FG should not borrow to fund 2020 budget, critical infrastructure

*Recovery will block negative impact of COVID-19 on nation’s economy, ABZ Integrated Ltd.

By Malachy Uzendu

Renowned Forensic Accountant/Investigators, Messrs ABZ Integrated Limited have explained how they intends to recover $125 billion, purportedly stolen by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and their collaborators in the country.

According to them, recovering the money will not only provide the funds needed to fully fund the 2020 budget, but will provide enough money to provide more critical infrastructures in the country.

Letters signed by Mr. Uzonwanne, Chief Executive Officer and Barr. Gregory N. Lar, Director of ABZ Integrated Limited, in acknowledged correspondences addressed to the Finance Minister and dated 23rd March, 2020 entitled “Application For Authorisation To Raise From Within the Economy Not Only To Fund The 2020 National Budget Of N10.5 Trillion But Also To Address The Nation’s Infrastructure Deficit”, are in possession of our correspondent.

They disclosed that they had concluded investigation on the sources for the recovery of the fund and if their proposa is approved, the money that would be recovered will not only stop government from taking any foreign or local loan, but in addition will provide enough finances to fund the N10.5 trillion 2020 budget.

Other letters sighted by our reporters were addressed to President Muhamadu Buhari; President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Alhaji Abubakar Malami.

The two private forensic investigators boasted that “if the federal government agrees with us, on terms and conditions, to make our foreign associates comfortable, we will release the details on the $45 billion within seven days of reaching an agreement”.

They also promised to give information that would lead to the recovery of another tranche of $80 billion within 30 days thereafter.

Part of the letter reads: “With 50 crude vessels floating in the high seas without buyers: (according to the NNPC GMD), with price of crude oil dropping below Nigeria’s purported production cost benchmark, all hopes seem to have been lost, but not so.

“If covid-19 appears to have lowered this huge burden on the Nigerian economy, even when we sought for a loan of $22 billion, why can’t we turn to the good side of the pandemic?

“The good news is: no slashing of the budget by N1.5 trillion. We apply to be authorized to roll the two into one by revealing to government a recoverable amount of over $45 billion from International Oil Companies (IOCs).

“This is not in any vessels floating in the high seas but our moneys in the pockets of our partners, the IOCs.

“This is not about Nigeria not giving effect to any existing agreement, with the Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs), but our money crudely snatched from the economy, with myriad of verifiable and incontrovertible trails and hard evidence that makes it easily retrievable”.

Providing a summary of what would be immediately recovered if brought in by government to handle the recoveries, they explained that “to assure you that we are not joking, on signing the agreement, we will immediately and on the spot, deliver information on $2.425 billion as a precursor or harbinger to the ‘Hidden Treasure”.

Uzonwanne and Lar said that they had attempted three times previously to provide information through several procedures, including through the Whistleblowers Policy and resort to the law courts to obtain order of mandamus, “though at a lower scale, but the federal government has been ‘too rich’ to look at our direction.

“The benefit accruable from our proposal is far beyond $125 billion. It takes Nigeria our or poverty, addresses the infrastructure and social disharmony in the system.

“This is the product of over 20 years of painstaking research, hard work that was threatened by blackmail and intimidation sponsored by the IOCs,” they said.

The duo advised the nation’s leaders to reject the antics of detractors who, all along, had prevented them from having access to their knowledge, expertise and investigation outcomes through which billions of dollars of slush funds would have been recovered and the “looters exposed for who they truly are”.

Recall that Messers ABZ Integrated Limited, Uzonwanne, Barr. George Uboh were among the several Nigerian whistleblowers and private forensic investigators whose activities led to the bursting of the kickback paid on the $242 million fraud (419) recovery against one Nelson Sakaguchi and Stanton Development Corporation of Banco Noroeste S.A. of Sao Paulo Brazil.

They had previously individually petitioned President Olusegun Obasanjo over alleged $10.8 billion tax evasion against Chevron Nig Limited and some other OICs, but these petitions were ignored.

The same set of investigators had leveled allegations of fraudulent diversion of over $500 billion through alleged connivance of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and OICs on Joint Venture Cash Call procedure.

Inspite of providing details of the movement of such illicite money running into millions of dollars through foreign and national banks and how such monies were diverted, government kept mute and pretended they were sounding like broken drums.

Remaining undaunted and not feeling disappointed, the company addressed President Buhari in the letter saying: “The key to the nation’s ‘Hidden Strong-Room’ of illicit funds is dangling before you. Please give us the opportunity to prove our worth. The nation will be better for it”.

The AUTHORITY’s investigators had screened documents and Statement of Account of the CBN between 2013 and 2016 which were provided by ABZ Integrated Limited last test and filed several news reports from the documents, but it failed to make desired impact.

In the news stories, we unearthed mind-boggling financial sleaze involving payments made by the CBN into ban accounts that are patently fraudulent or do not exist at all.

Up till now, letters written through the apprenticeship FOI which we directed to the CBN and NNPC since 2016, have remained unreplied despite repeated reminders.

During the investigations, it was discovered that some of the companies used to perpetrate the fraud were paid certain static amount of money by the CBN for upward of six times in one single day!

Our investigators became more curious and discovered that some of the bank accounts that benefitted from such illicit money had either eight, nine, eleven or thirteen digit bank account numbers, contrary to the 10 digit Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) approved by the CBN for bank transactions in the country.

For example, The AUHORITY discovered that on 23rd September, 2015, CBN claimed it paid N6,858,148,250 “being JVC Cash Call Payment to NNPC/SPDC/EPNL/NAOC Joint Venture for September 2015 into account number 00102463574, purportedly domiciled at First Bank of Nigeria Plc” leaving a balance of N176,170,466,478.50 in the account as at the time.

This account number is curiously bore eleven digits, and should not have been in operation as at the time of the transaction since BVN has become the norm in the country.

Also the same day, CBN said in the same statement of account said that it paid the sum of N3,290,045,700 “Being JVC Cash Call Payment in favour of NNPC/MOBIL Joint Venture through account number 201024355, which it equally claimed is FBN account, leaving a balance of N13,880,420,778.50 in it.

This particular account number unfortunately, has nine digits, raising serious suspicion that it was either deliberate, erroneous or outright fraudulent.

Another such suspicious payment was made the same day through what CNB called RTGS Transaction being JVC Cash Call Payment to NNPC/TEPNG Joint Venture in the sum of N427,965,000.00 into account number 201024411, yet another nine digit account number said to be domiciled in FBN, leaving a balance of N10,981,341,778.50 in the said account.

One aspect of payments which confounded our investigators concerned payment to a company called OGIDIGBEN with account number 16868437. This eight digit account number received dix payments of equal amount of N31,293,855 on March 13, 2015 totaling N187,763,130.

This particular transaction is the most intriguing because there is no evidence of any bank name mentioned in respect to this huge payment. This gave our investigators the lead that there could probably be a ring of racketeers operating within the CBN,NNPC and the commercial banking sector.

It was discovered that this same amount of money, N187,763,130 was taken out of the CBN Dollar Cash Call Account domiciled in JP Morgan Bank on 7th March, 2015 as $957,975.15 and credited to the Naira Cash Call Account on 18th March, 2015 as N187,763,130.

Another suspicious bank account operated by the CBN purportedly at the UBA Port Harcourt Branch on 5th January, 2015 in favour of NNPC/NAOC/POCNL Joint Venture with account number 03900030000230 was used to fleece the sum of N39,351,094,500, but paid out in dollar equivalent of $235,635,296.40, at N167 per dollar.

Interestingly, this payment, made via 13 digit bank account number, was indicated as Cash Call Arrears for the period 2008 to 2011. However, only NAOC received the said payment within that period, raising suspicion if other oil companies which are involved in joint venture business had no arrears to receive within the said period.

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