. ..As Hammed Ali’s silence worries officials
Officials of the Nigeria Customs Service are worried over the inability of the Comptroller General, Hammed Ali to probe the sum of N3.4billion paid by a former Service boss, Abdullahi Inde into an account owned by oil mogul, Sir Emeka Offor without any contract.
Pointblanknews.com investigation revealed that the money, N3.4billion was paid by the Nigerian Customs through Zenith acct number 1013290835 belonging to Emeka Offor on September 2, 2015 without contract.
The officials of the bank who are very well aware of the fraud are saying that Customs CG who has vowed to fight corruption may have been compromised or bribed by Offor to keep mute on the issue.
Sir Offor, the owner of Inland Containers LTD and Chrome oil services amongst other conglomerate is believed to have sponsored the emergence of many Presidents and Governors both in Nigeria and West Africa coast and has made most of his fortunes estimated to be over $4 billion through his relationships with governments across Africa countries.
According to pointblanknews.com source, “Sir Offor collected the huge sums during the reign of Abdullahi Inde and transferred N500million to Joint Trust Dominion Nigeria Ltd on November 11, 2015.
“EFCC had started probe on the funds but stopped after Offor allegedly reached out to Hammed Ali whom he claims is now his “main man.”
Efforts to reach Customs CG over the fraud allegation proved abortive as neither him nor his assistants refused to volunteer any explanation.
Sir Offor has pulled several fraudulent businesses particularly in the oil sector including that of the controversial company in the gas sector, Kastech which he also owned that handled the multimillion dollar contract for the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of both the 60 000 barrels per day Old Port Harcourt Refinery commissioned in 1985 and the 150 000 bpd New Port Harcourt Refinery and Petrochemicals Company commissioned in 1989.
His company also participated in the TAM contract for the 125 000 bpd Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company in the early 1990s. The contract took years to execute, rather than a few weeks. Yet at the end of the day the job was abandoned. The name of the company involved in the so-called TAM was ANCHOFF Strongholds Ltd.
A panel set up by the Abdulsalami’s government discovered, among other things, that Offor’s ANCHOFF Strongholds was unjustifiably paid three billion naira and, consequently, recommended its blacklisting. It also recommended the dismissal of the Warri Refinery Managing Director, Dr Owokalu, who had fled to London immediately the panel was set up.
It is instructive to note that Offor became the first Blackman to be awarded an oil refinery TAM contract in Nigeria, he was a mere clearing and forwarding agent in Warri, Delta State, a job he began when he left Julius Berger as an earth moving equipment operator! ANCHOFF Strongholds had just been incorporated hurriedly for the TAM job. There was no bidding of any sort. Some characters in the NNPC leadership and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources conspired to give Offor the hefty job.
Worse is that in spite of the abandonment of the TAM job at the WRPC Ltd and the blacklisting of Offor’s company, as recommended by the Aret panel, Offor went on to win a much bigger contract, that is, the contract to carry out TAM on both the old and new Port Harcourt refineries at Eleme, Rivers State. It was a deal involving the then Head of State, General Sani Abacha; the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Dan Etete who has since been jailed in France for massive corruption; the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Engr Dalhatu Bayero; and the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Giddado Idris, who more or less packaged it. This deal cost the nation over $100m. The refineries were never fixed. The result has been the massive importation of petroleum products into Nigeria on an unprecedented scale—up to this day.
A grateful Offor was to make Idris the chairman of almost every organization of his, including AFEX Bank which he acquired when it was known as Orient Bank with the headquarters in Enugu. With his tremendous financial power derived from the refinery TAM contracts and acquisition of AFEX Bank, Offor moved into Sao Tome and Principe where he has become about the biggest oil player. He even decides who becomes the leader of this tiny island nation with plenty of hydrocarbon deposits.
When President Olusegun Obasanjo assumed Nigeria’s leadership in 1999 and publicly declared anti-corruption a priority of his government, most citizens thought that he would take a hard stance on the Port Harcourt refinery contract. He never did. If anything, he went into bed with Offor in the name of political party solidarity, otherwise called the “PDP family affair”.
Offor’s Chrome was paid N8b for the Yola-Bauch transmission line over and above Pivot Engineering which bidded for the electricity job for N6b. In May, 2001, the Obasanjo government awarded the contract for the construction of the Gombe/Yola/Jalingo transmission line to Chrome. Like the first electricity contract, it was abandoned.
The House of Representatives Committee on Power which looked into the execution of the contracts recommended the recovery of the Gombe/Yola/Jalingo payment, Chrome’s blacklisting and the investigation of the jobs by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The recommendations were never carried out.
The Obasanjo government gave to Offor’s Environmental Remedial Holding Company (ERHC) highly prolific oil blocks in both Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe for almost free; both countries own and operate the Nigeria-Sao Tome Principe Joint Development Zone.The generous awards caused an uproar in the international scene.
The Emeka Offor’ company, Kastech, which is angling for a $5b contract from the NNPC for the construction of gas pipelines from Ajaokuta to Kaduna and Kano has already won two major gas contracts from the PDP government. The first was in 2008 when it was assigned the construction of the 107 kilometre by 24inches gas pipeline which runs from Adanga Addax Platform to Calabar. The contract value is $156m. The second contract is for the integrity assessment and rehabilitation of the Oben-Sapele Gas Pipeline and the upgrade and extension of the existing gas metering facilities. The contract sum is $26.4m plus N1.1b. Still, Offor. All the contracts were abandoned.