Alleged breach of Nigeria’s crude oil allocation: Ex-UK crime fighter launches inquest

Crude oil.
Crude oil.
Alleged breach of Nigeria’s crude oil allocation: Ex-UK crime fighter launches inquest

The questionable contract award of Cargo and Crude Oil Tracking Note Scheme to a Belgian firm, Antaser BV by the Federal Government of Nigeria has now become a subject of international investigation, which may burst a can of worms and expose top Nigerian public and private officials involved in the perennial scotch of oil theft, which denies the country over eighty percent of its oil revenue.

Donnington Nigeria Ltd and its technical partner Vortexa UK, the companies that were allegedly shortchanged in the wrongful award, had been at legal loggerheads with the Government of Nigeria, as well as Antaser Belgium and Antaser Nig Ltd, Velocity Logistics and Maritime Services, Winslow Logistics, Equal Logistics and Saham Crystal Investment Nig Ltd and individuals, the purported beneficiaries of the project to implement the Advanced Cargo Declaration/Cargo Tracking Note Scheme.


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Donnington, which alleges wrongdoing and breach of extant laws in the contract award, has engaged the services of a former Assistant Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, Tarique Ghaffur, CBE, QPM, to dig into the fraudulent contract award, in breach of relevant provision of the Public Procurement Act.

This was disclosed in a press statement on Tuesday by the Managing Director of the company, Mohammed Sani, who stated, “We have some compelling information which leads us to suspect that wrongdoing within the high levels of the Nigerian Federal government, its ministries and agencies, has taken place.

“Accordingly, we have engaged Tarique Ghaffur, CBE, QPM, a former Assistant Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, and his team of public corruption and economic crime experts, to investigate such wrongdoing, which appears to have its foundations in the continuation of thefts of crude oil.”

It is widely believed by a cross-section of Nigerians that government officials and top brass of the military are complicit in the crude oil theft. Donnington alleges that the award to Antaser Bv Belgium and the other “bubble companies” is because those in government are looking for a smokescreen for their allies in the organized crime of oil theft.

According to documents seen, as of January 2024, the Nigerian Government had unilaterally appointed six other companies to implement the Cargo Tracking Scheme, instead of Donnington Nigeria Ltd, which had complied with all the requirements, including gaining Presidential approval on 4th May 2021, for the re-introduction of the scheme. The company had also secured other relevant approvals from the various ministries and agencies.

Mr Ghaffur, who has successfully led many high-profile international investigations, both whilst with the police as head of Scotland Yard’s Specialist Crime Directorate, and as the head of an international security consultancy, has already commenced his pre-investigation review, he was quoted as saying in the statement:

“My team and I shall explore all legal means to robustly gather evidence to prove criminal intentions and related acts”.

“We know from our previous work that criminals permeate the highest levels of many governments, and their ultimate victims are the citizens they are supposed to serve”.

“Organized crime takes many forms, and it is in this case our mission to expose such criminality wherever we find it, and Nigeria is no exception,” Mr Ghaffur was quoted to have said.

Mr. Sani added that the investigation will be far reaching and extend both domestically and internationally, to jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the United States of America, including known repositories for criminal assets and laundered money.

Meanwhile, certified documents obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria, show that appointees of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s Government may have used proxy companies to hijack the Cargo Tracking Scheme Contract, which triggered the legal tussle between Donnington Ltd and the Government of Nigeria.

Intriguing, is the fact that they secured the contract, worth billions of Naira, without due diligence, as investigations reveal that four out of the five companies used were not registered with the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering, SCUML of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, which tends to suggest that the government officials involved unduly influenced the Bureau of Public Procurement BPP, whose duty it is to carry out due diligence.

Only Velocity Nigeria Ltd was duly registered, according to checks. The four others companies, which were not endorsed by SCUML, as required, are Antasar Nigeria Ltd, Equal Logistics Ltd, Winslow Logistics Ltd and Sahams Crystal Investment Ltd.

This was confirmed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a letter to solicitors of Donnington Nigeria Ltd, which was dated 30th March 2023. It was in response to their inquiry after they had gone to court to challenge the sham award of the said CTN Contract.

This aside, Antaser BV Belgium and Antaser Nig Ltd were both indicted along side Transport and Port Management System Ltd(TPMS) by the EFCC in 2011 in case involving financial crime

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo recently said that one of the reasons why Nigeria’s economy is in ruins is that while other oil-producing countries have records of their oil production, Nigeria cannot account for hers due to theft. And this investigation by ex-Scotland Yard’s crime chief would be welcomed by commonplace Nigerians, who are currently lumbering through a historic hardship, amid soaring prices and high cost of living.

Nonetheless, this inquest would sling more mud on Nigeria’s already battered image. A country once described by former British Prime Minister David Cameron as “fantastically corrupt.“

A source at Donnington Ltd revealed that Kroll Associates UK, a financial investigation company, was also engaged to investigate and expose the Beneficial Owners of the six companies favored by the Nigerian government – using money trail to link the real owners and it was based on their preliminary report that a criminal investigation became necessary.

The Office of the Secretary to the Nigerian Government had yet to respond to this embarrassing development, as at the time of filing this report. Calls and messages sent to that office had not been answered.


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