The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has dismissed a claim by a Mexican firm, Samano Sa De Cv demanding $125million as compensation for providing information on 48 million barrels of crude oil allegedly stolen from Nigeria and stored in China since 2015.
The NNPC, in a letter dated the 30th of July, 2020, and signed by its lawyer Mr Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), faulted the claim of the firm and its officials that they were entitled to 5 per cent whistleblower compensation, explaining that the information in respect of the said 48 million barrels of crude oil turned out to be false after investigation by a presidential committee.
The corporation questioned the integrity of Samao and its officials while noting instances where the firm had been involved in criminal activities, on account of which they were allegedly convicted or standing trial in courts.
The NNPC explained that the firm “had contacted officials of the Federal Government sometime in 2015 with information in respect of 48 million barrels of Nigerian bonny light crude oil allegedly stolen from Nigeria and stored in various ports and terminals in the People’s Republic of China.”
“Notwithstanding its failure to provide evidence to support its claims, relevant officials of the government were mandated to proceed to China to verify the claims of the existence of the said stolen Nigerian crude oil.”
“The said delegation discovered that the Samao’s claim was false and baseless. Consequently, the government severed communications with the syndicate.”
The corporation added that subsequently “Messrs. Ramirez and Jose Salazar Tinajero, acting as agents of Samao, resorted to blackmail and intimidation of key officials of the government and the NNPC, threatening to make public information that the said 48 million barrels of oil had been recovered, sold and the proceeds there from looted by some government officials and the NNPC when it was aware that this was untrue.
“They also demanded $125,000,000:00 from said government officials, which was conveniently and rightfully ignored. Thereafter, NNPC reported this case of attempted blackmail to the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
“They, upon investigation, discovered that Mr Ramirez is facing two separate and unconnected criminal charges at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja”
“Both charges were preferred against Mr Ramirez by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for economic and financial crimes.”
“The said Mr. Ramirez and his cohorts have since been charged to several courts in Nigeria for criminal offences ranging from fraud, forgery, extortion, blackmail, conspiracy, etc.” The letter added.
The corporation said it was currently consulting its lawyers Afe Babalola & Co in a bid to take legal action against the said company for damages done to its reputation and its officials as a result of the false publications by the syndicate.