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$125 million fraud: NNPC to take Mexican oil firm to court



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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is set to take legal action against a Mexican oil firm, SAMACO SA DE CV and its officials for attempting to swindle the Federal Government of more than $125 million.

In a statement, the Counsel to the NNPC, Afe Babalola & Co., explained that the management of the state-owned oil company has already initiated plans to seek redress “for the injury to the Corporation and its officials through series of falsehoods peddled by SAMANO and its agents.”

A week ago, there were allegations that some Nigerian government officials and NNPC staff allegedly sold about 48 million barrels of stolen Nigeria crude oil and shared the proceeds.

The report quoted contents of a recent correspondence to NNPC by the law firm of Messrs. Lords & Temple, claiming to be Solicitors to SAMANO SA DE CV.

In the letter signed by Gboyega Oyewole, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the law firm said its client was accusing the Nigerian government officials and NNPC of reneging on an agreement to pay it 5% of ‘whistleblower compensation’ for information furnished them over an oil deal.

The company’s counsel referred to the discussions between SAMANO SA DE CV and the officials involved in 2015 over an information about 48 million barrels of Nigerian Bonny Light Crude Oil allegedly stolen from Nigeria and stored in various ports and terminals in the People’s Republic of China.

According to the law firm, SAMANO, led by its top officials, Messrs Marco Ramirez Ramirez and Jose Salazar Tinajero, had contacted the senior officials of the Nigerian government with an offer to purchase the alleged stolen oil apparently abandoned by some unknown persons.
Although they claimed the officials used the information provided, which led to the sale of the crude oil, SAMANO said it was neither carried along in the sharing of the proceeds from the sale, nor were they paid the agreed 5% whistleblower compensation.

But the management of NNPC, through its counsel, insisted that not only were the reports replete with falsehoods, but were also calculated attempts by the company, working in concert with its local and international agents, to intimidate, blackmail, and extort money from the Nigerian government and NNPC.

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