COURT testimonies arising in lawsuits in London and New York have revealed how a total sum of $1.2 million bribe paid by oil companies to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was used to finance the past two elections in Nigeria.
According to Bloomberg, the money was paid by a former employee of Glencore and BP, two British oil companies, to middlemen to help get contract awards from the NNPC.
Jonathan Zarembok, dismissed last year by BP for confessing the part played by the London-based energy firm in the scheme, said this week that the fashion in which the NNPC conducted cargo allotments might have helped plans for the 2019 elections.
“We were paying agents in Nigeria huge multiples of what we paid in other regions, even though those agents did not perform services of any real value to BP. Our proposed reasons for paying the agent these sums were a sham,” he said.
In July, another former staff of Glencore had acknowledged giving an agent $300,000 intended to obtain an oil consignment from the NNPC with the knowledge it would go to funding a general election held in Nigeria in 2015.
But regarding the 2019 elections, Zarembok stated in the suit that he sensed the bribe he paid would be directed to the 2019 elections.
In the lawsuit against his former employer, Zarembok said he was fired for raising concerns about ‘abnormally large’ amounts paid to middlemen to ease contract awards in Nigeria.
According to him, the emails a BP executive sent in 2017 were a ‘clear red flag’ and indicated “there would be pressure to pay bribes.”
Details of starting plans for the elections in 2018 were mentioned in the correspondence.
A Nigerian intermediary got two crude cargoes from the NNPC, with BP paying $900,000 to him in fees.
BP was quoted as saying it was defending in full and denied all allegations made by the claimant, Zarembok.
A related subject came to the fore two months back when another ex-employee of Glencore, Anthony Stimler, admitted to corruption and money laundering.
US court filings show Stimler got a notification in September 2014 that ‘Foreign Official 1’ demanded payment ahead of every cargo receipt from all NNPC clients regarding ‘a then-upcoming political election.’
He said Glencore transferred $300,000 to an agency used “to pay bribes to Nigerian officials.”
Prosecutors in the US have detailed how Stimler and others paid many countries millions of dollars in kickbacks from 2017 to 2018, NNPC officials inclusive.
“The conduct described in the plea is unacceptable and has no place in Glencore,” the firm said in a July statement.
When contacted, NNPC Group General Manager for Public Affairs Garbadeen Muhammad denied the allegation in a text message to The ICIR, saying it was ‘not true.’