By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
A few days after a new report by oil industry watchdog emerged that Nigeria stands to lose $4.5 billion in the controversial $1.1 billion allegedly given to owners of Malabu Oil Company, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has vowed that those involved would be punished.
The Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, gave the assurance while receiving the new report on the oil block in his office.
The document on the oil block was presented to Magu by the President, Resource for Development Consulting, Dr. Don Hubert, a Canada-based analyst, whose organisation has helped oil-rich countries to get a fair share of the revenue. Hubert, an extractive industries analyst, analyzed the terms and conditions for the sale of the controversial Oil Prospecting Lease, OPL 245, otherwise known as Malabu Oil Block, to Shell and Eni.
While receiving the report, Magu said: “We shall constitute a committee to study it so that investigation can be extended to all grey areas and charges brought or amended against the suspects accordingly.’’
Magu added that the EFCC was taking its time to investigate the scandal, so that “a watertight case” would be made before prosecution.
According to Hubert, the organisation has helped countries with oil and gas resources to get a fair share of the revenue, analyze oil contracts and build economic models and ultimately forecast government revenue.
In the case of the Malabu Oil deal, Hubert said, “The 2011 Resolution Agreement signed between the oil firms and Nigerian will result in the loss of revenue to the Nigerian people and government to the tune of at least $4.5 billion.
“As it stands today, Nigeria will lose between $6 billion and N10 billion to the deal, which is now being investigated outside Nigeria”.
He explained that the result of their findings indicated an estimate minimum loss of $4.5billion as a result of the 2011 deal.
Chairman of HEDA Resource Centre, Olarewaju Suraju, an anti-corruption crusader and one of the partners in the team that produced the findings on the OPL 245, commended the efforts of the EFCC in the fight against corruption.