[Profile] Kola Aluko: How Nigeria’s silent multi-millionaire became laden with corruption allegations

Kola Aluko

By Balogun Kamilu Lekan

Kolawole Aluko is a business mogul with an interest in oil and aviation.

He was born in Lagos state on the 20th of October 1969.

According to Kola, he was ambitious from the early stage of his life and he has grown a mindset of working for himself.

His entrepreneurial mindset motivated him to work across different sectors from pharmaceuticals to automobiles before finally setting up his own oil company in the ’90s.

Kola Aluko co-founded Besse Oil, a pioneering oil trading company in Nigeria in 1995. Besse Oil, one of the first to obtain a credit line with major international banks, traded crude oil and fuel oil and was also a major importer of gasoline.

Six years later, Kola founded Fossil Resources where he assumed the role of CEO and in 2004 he founded Exoro Energy International. This was a groundbreaker for him as he was able to partner with other companies to showcase its exploration and production technology.

In 2007, Exoro Energy merged with another company to independently form Seven Energy.

Aluko expanded into the aviation sector by joining the VistaJet advisory board and helping the Swiss-based luxury aircraft company’s growth into West Africa In 2010.

He is estimated to have a net worth of about $1 billion.

Kola who Forbes Magazine once included in the list of silent multi-millionaires, “just good, successful businessmen who are not criminals” ended up pulling one of the greatest heists in Nigeria’s oil industry.

Kola’s ordeal started when as a partner of the federal government in the oil sector, he was found to live a very loud and ostentatious life.

He was rumoured to be a collector of “super automobiles”, possessing private aircraft and more than 50 vehicles.

His spending was thought to grossly exceed his recognized net worth and genuine income.

In 2013, Beyonce celebrated her 32nd birthday on Aluko’s $82 million 65-meter Galactica Star Yach. The yacht is reportedly the newest and largest Heesen yacht ever built.

He at a time was rumoured to be in a romantic relationship with supermodel, Naomi Campbell.

Aluko and his partner Jide Omokore, with former Nigerian Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke were allegedly involved in a multi-billion dollar heist and money laundering offences.

In 2011, the trio were accused of being involved in a shady deal, where four oil mining leases were allegedly granted under Alison’s influence to a company owned by the businessmen. 

In a leaked document, the company was authorized to sell crude oil with a value of up to $677 million despite not carrying out its contractual obligations.

In December 2012, the businessmen later secured contracts for four more oil mining leases.

Again, despite not “fully” keeping its pledges, the firm acquired millions of barrels of oil, which it sold for more than $800 million. In total, the merchants sold crude oil for close to $1.5 billion.

One day after Aluko met with Nigerian officials to discuss the initial oil contract, he allegedly bought Alison-Madueke a £3.75 million property in London.

It was also reported that on behalf of Alison-Madueke, Aluko wired $461,500 and $262,091 to two furniture stores in Houston over the course of a single day in May 2012., 

Aluko also reportedly owes an Ivorian supplier of jet fuel $83 million.

Many of his assets have been seized and frozen and he’s been in court fighting to reclaim some of them.

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