Sunday Vanguard had a chat with Hon. Agbonayinma on efforts so far to recover the proceeds from the sale of the stolen crude oil.
What’s the level of progress made?
I am very optimistic that I can see huge progress because what has happened, what has taken us backward, is the issue right here in Nigeria, even though the Attorney General took some of the companies to court here, nothing has come out of it. He has been frustrated even in our own country.
So, now that the Loumos leading counsel has decided that the group will advise us and that this matter must be taken to the United States for litigation, they cannot escape the US legal system even if they can escape Nigerian legal system.
That is where our hope is because I know very well that at the end of the day, those that are involved, those in multinational companies including some of the Nigerian companies and their cabals, will be unveiled and nothing would be hidden any more, it will come to light. That is my greatest happiness and joy.
Looking at the buyers, the various countries appear now to be getting ready to submit every detail to the lawyers in the US.
How many countries have they been able to trace our stolen crude?
We are moving on and I believe the end will justify the means. I want to appreciate the lawyer, the leading counsel (Attorney Jerome Stanley) to Loumos group, that is the company that did the investigation regarding the undeclared crude oil that went to over 51 countries, they have concluded investigations on 41 countries so far.
Funding and support for the investigations?
Of course I must not fail to appreciate their effort in trying to get everything right, every submission, every detail that when you look at it you will understand that they have done a good job.
The US customs, for being able to submit a comprehensive data, what landed in the United Sates, the crude oil that left Nigeria to the US. I must not fail to appreciate their hard work and their effort to help.
Also, the US Congress; some members of the US Congress who are also encouraging and who are in support, in trying to put in words by encouraging those that are in position to make sure that the right things are done.
We cannot forget those that are involved in this exposé, in trying to get this money returned back to Nigeria; somebody like Dr Allan White and the BW Group in Washington DC, these are groups of people interested in our wellbeing. Then there is the Molecular power system from Nigeria, for being able to engage the right company that is Loumos. I think they have all done well and I must appreciate them.
I must not fail to recognise the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Malami, for his interest in trying to get this thing working for the best interest of our nation, his contribution, his support and the senior special assistant to the President on Asset Recovery and Judiciary, Mrs Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu. These are people that have been very supportive.
And again, of course, coming from the House, the Speaker, who is hell bent on seeing the end and the right result, the money that belongs to Nigeria returned back to Nigeria.
I am getting positive words. Yes, I left Nigeria about three weeks ago and I must tell you that my visit to the US was very promising, it was very positive and I cannot ask for more than to thank God that the meeting was fruitful and everybody involved was very optimistic, they were wonderful people that are having the interest of Nigeria at heart.
I am talking about white men who are talking positively, saying that they will do whatever they can and there is a lot of fraud here, both the giver and the receiver are both guilty; both the buyers and the sellers they have compromised the system and anyone found wanting would be dealt with, will face the wrath of the law in the United States.
I’m very hopeful, very optimistic. We might not be able to get all the money back but what is important is to get most of the money and to try to put an end, to minimize the loopholes because there are serious loopholes that they have always used over the years to defraud Nigeria.
When they always say that we produce 2.2million barrels per day but a lot of millions are going through the back doors to global destination. So the cabal – of course NNPC is the real cabal – along with other surrogates and are culprits. So I think that the law will definitely catch up with them sooner than later.