Having successfully linked convicted former Delta State governor, James Ibori, to part ownership of Oando Group, documents in Pointblanknews.com possession indicates that the oil firm may have been involved in suspicious dealings of money laundering and fraud.
Preliminary reports from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) have thrown up more suspicious fiscal dealings this time by Oando Energy Resources Inc, a subsidiary of the Oando Group registered as an offshore company with an address at 3400, 350 – 7th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta, AB T2P 3N9, Canada.
Information on its website describes Oando Energy Resources Inc. (Corporation# 6429661) as a federal corporation entity registered with Corporations Canada. It was incorporated on August 9, 2005.
Oando’s alleged ties with Mr. Ibori who was convicted in 2012 by UK Court for the serious financial crime was said to have raised the red flag on the activities of Oando Energy Resources Inc.
Oando did not disown Ibori but merely claimed that Mr. Ibori’s stake in the company is “insignificant”.
Trouble started for Oando in May 2015 when Deutsche Bank, a multinational correspondent bank to Oando’s Nigerian bankers, transmitted secret filings on Oando to the U.S anti-money laundering agency, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The filings were made under Suspicious Activities Reports (SARs), in accordance with US laws.
FinCEN was notified of Oando’s involvement in an international wire transfer of over $31million in 64 transactions between January and February 2015.
However, fresh documents obtained by our reporters showed that Oando Energy Resources Inc may have served purposes other than being a Canadian office of Oando Group.
Documents detailing wire transfers by Oando to its Canada office have raised new concerns on the propriety of the frequent transactions running into billions of dollars in 2016 alone.
The transfers were made via Oando Ecobank accounts numbers: 15039283 and 150 408 47. The huge amounts and frequency of transfers were said to have caught the eyes of the investigators.
Though some of the wire transfers were tied to the servicing of the loan, but investigators are curious as no trace of loan commensurate to the transfers had been established. Some of the transactions include:
On 29-03-2016, the sum of $5,437,733,437.34 was credited to the Oando Canada account. Earlier, on 01-04-2016, the account was richer by $97,298,130.46. Some days, the frequency of credit to the account increases.
For instance, on 31st March 2016, the sums of $810,275,042.79 and $357,869,514.37 were shipped into the account. Ditto for 01-02-2016 when two credits of $398,620,000 and $139,512,017 were captured in the account. Earlier, on 24-03-2016, the hefty credit of $2,894,098,015 graced the account. The cash transfers continued all through the year totaling over $20 billion.
Other transfers include the sum of $992,739,041.09 credited to the account on 12-07-2016; $153,885,766.30 credited on 23-09-2016; $202,296,160.87 transferred on 27-07-2016; among others.
Of particular concern to the investigators is the rate of credit and debit on the account. Documents sighted by our reporters suggest that the investigators may have flagged the Oando account as performing other functions outside corporate defined objectives related to oil and gas.
Our findings also showed that the Alberta, Canada address of Oando is also the same address of Fasken Martineau, an international business law firm, which in 2014 acted as advisor to Oando Energy Resources Inc. in the completion of its acquisition of the Nigerian Upstream Oil and Gas Business of ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) for a total cash consideration of US$1.5 billion.
The deal was described then as one of the first transactions where an international oil company was sold to a locally owned indigenous company on free-market terms using international financing.
“We were pleased to have been corporate counsel to Oando in this landmark deal which marks one of the largest such transactions in Africa and moves a large oil and gas asset into indigenous hands,” said Abayomi Akinjide, the lead lawyer and co-leader of Fasken Martineau’s Global Energy Group.
“The deal is also unique in that although there was equity involved, it relied substantially upon traditional forms of bank financing, using a mixture of local and international capital,” added Mr. Akinjide.
Investigators are working to establish that Oando Energy Resources Inc. is not using any offshore corporate as a shell to launder money.
As at the time of this report, no act of criminality has been established but investigations of the oil company and other Nigerian corporates and individuals are still ongoing.
Recall that the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was recently linked to Oando.
Court papers filed by the former Managing Director of Alpha Beta Consulting, ABC, Mr. Oladapo Apara said Tinubu moved the N1bn from ABC to Ocean and Oil Investments Ltd (Oando).
A nephew of Bola Tinubu, Adewale Tinubu, is the founder of Ocean and Oil Investments Ltd, trading as Oando Plc.