A credible source at the Nigerian Senate has told SaharaReporters that members of the Senate Committee on Finance led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi have been offered unspecified amounts of bribe by agents of Nigeria's Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to endorse the committee's interim report on billions of dollars in crude oil sales that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, claimed were never accounted for.
Last week, the 11-member committee prematurely released an interim account that sought to absolve Ms. Alison-Madueke and NNPC officials,
who report to her, of blame in the alleged missing funds. The report dismissed Mr. Sanusi's assertion that the NNPC had failed to remit between $20 billion and $50 billion of Nigeria's crude oil earnings with the country's apex bank.
Reacting to the report, one of its members, Bukola Saraki, debunked the news reports, stating that the committee could not arrive at any credible conclusions without receiving and considering the report of forensic auditors President Goodluck Jonathan engaged to investigate the allegation of missing billions.
Our source said Ms. Alison-Madueke and top NNPC officials were on edge after Mr. Saraki's response, which basically checked the minister's plan to hype the interim report as proof that she and her aides had been absolved. The senator added that the minister's proxies were also rattled by the fact that even the interim report concluded that some funds had not been remitted by the NNPC as required.
Our source revealed that the minister and NNPC officials then commenced their next round of shopping for committee members who would be willing to sign-off on the report in exchange for substantial financial compensation. He said that committee members already approached with offers of significant bribes include Ahmed Makarfi, the chairman of the committee who represents the Kaduna North constituency, Mr. Saraki, who represents Kwara Central constituency, Andy Uba, who represents Anambra South constituency, Aloysius Etok, who represents Akwa Ibom North West constituency, and Magnus Abe of Rivers State as well as Nanadi Usman, the Senator representing Kaduna South and Maina Lawan, the Senator representing Borno North.
Our source revealed that Senator Etok had already made a commitment to sign off on the fraudulent interim report, after Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom coerced him to endorse it as the committee's final report. Mr. Akpabio is a confidant of President Jonathan and a close associate of Ms. Alison-Madueke.
SaharaReporters learned that the Petroleum Minister's fronts in the negotiations with the committee members are Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore, two power players in the oil industry who have struck billion dollar fortunes from deals that she dispensed.
Our source said the two men as well as the minister have been willing to spend lots of money to persuade the committee members to hurriedly adopt the interim report. Our source added that some of the senators have either received or being promised as much as $1.5 million each if they would put paid to the controversy of the missing petro-dollars by accepting the interim report as the last word on the matter.
Some members of the committee are still negotiating how much they want to receive in order to jettison any serious probe of the issue and declare that no money is missing, said our source.
By SaharaReporters, New York