Ibori Claimed 30 Per Cent Shares In Oando, British Prosecutor Tells Court

Jailed former governor of Delta state, James Ibori told a Swiss private bank in 2004 that he owned 30 percent of oil firm Oando, which paid $1.2 million into his account that year, a prosecutor told a British court on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Sasha Wass told Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday that in 2004, Ibori had opened an account at Lugano-based PKB in the name of a shell company called Stanhope Investments.

Quoting from internal PKB documents, Wass told the court that Ibori had presented himself to the bank as the owner of an insurance company, half of a bank and 30 percent of Oando.

Oando said on Monday that Ibori had only an “insignificant” holding in the firm.

Reuters reported that details of Ibori’s assets and how he kept them hidden from the public gaze through a web of shell companies and foreign bank accounts are being disclosed as part of a three-week confiscation hearing which began in London on Monday.

Ibori was jailed for 13 years in Britain after pleading guilty in February 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering worth 50 million pounds.

 

Oando To Purchase ConocoPhillips’ Asset

Oando is close to securing funds to buy ConocoPhillips’ Nigerian assets, the company’s chief executive said on Wednesday, as he looked to allay fears it is struggling to raise finance for the $1.79 billion deal.

Wale Tinubu told Reuters in an interview in Lagos that the firm, having already raised the additional equity needed in February with a rights issue, now also has agreed in principle the necessary debt.

Oando has been looking for the past year to finance its transformation from a marketer of refined petroleum products into an upstream firm focused on oil and gas exploration and production.

The deal to acquire Conoco’s fields, that were producing around 43,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) last year and have proven reserves of 213 million barrels of oil equivalent, is scheduled to close by mid-2013.

But analysts have questioned whether Oando can persuade investors to deliver the funds.

“We’re confident in our ability to raise finance,” Tinubu said. “Because we have a diverse group, we’ve been able to raise equity from our shareholders and extract value from parts of our business to reinvest in the upstream.”

Tinubu also said that in reality the deal would only cost Oando around $1.5 billion, not the $1.79 billion headline figure. He declined to explain the discrepancy, but a source close to the deal said this was because of a net positive cash flow from the assets of $200-$300 million.

Tinubu said of the $1.5 billion cost around $725 million would come from debt.

“The debt is already arranged,” he said, but he declined to name banks involved and said some details remained to be worked out. Banking sources say the debt will be in the form of a syndicated loan of international and Nigerian banks.

Tinubu said once Oando had completed its acquisitions the upstream business would account for about three quarters of its assets, against 40 percent now.

The ConocoPhillips deal is the latest of several sales of Nigerian onshore assets made by foreign oil companies and Brazil’s Petrobras is now looking to sell $5 billion of assets.

“We would certainly be interested in considering it,” Tinubu said when asked if Oando was interested in buying some of the Petrobas interests. “We know we will be approached by them,” he added.

Political pressure from a government keen to have more indigenous firms operating fields plus rampant oil theft by armed gangs hacking into pipelines and potential liabilities from damaging oil spills have encouraged some foreign firms to slowly move out of onshore oil production.

But other firms like Britain’s Afren and Nigerian firms like Seplat and Conoil are moving in, creating competition for Oando.

Tinubu said local companies like Oando were in a better position to handle issues with local communities.

“Being an indigenous company, we’re better suited to handle the issue of theft and of community relations,” he said.

We’ll pay your claims without delay, Okonjo-Iweala assures oil marketers

The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Friday said that oil marketers who do not have a case to answer after the on-going verification exercise will be paid their entitlements without any delay.

The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Speaking at a meeting with oil marketers in Abuja, Mrs Okonjo- Iweala said that the verification process is a necessary prerequisite in sanitizing the oil and gas sector.

“We will continue to pay and make good on our words as the verification process by the Aig-Imoukhuede’s committee continues,” she said

The Minister said that the verification process is being expedited “to make sure that there are no undue delays and that marketers who make it through this process are paid the monies that are due them.”

On their part, some major oil marketers in the country have assured Nigerians of the availability of petroleum products in the country.

The General Manager of Folawiyo Energy ltd, Dipo Makanjuola said that his company supports the verification process and will continue to support government’s efforts to ensure steady supply of petroleum product in the country.

“The amount we have that is outstanding, we’ve all agreed with her (Minister of finance) and we are all basically on the same page. We hope that subsequently we can move from there and continue to support government in this challenge,” he said.

The Chief Operating Officer of Oando plc, Yomi Awobokun, who also said his company supports the verification exercise said since the process is slow, some “miscreants have taken advantage of this exercise and good intentions to ensure that they make a quick bulk enhance the queues that you see on the road.”