Zambia probes Nigerian firm for $5m oil ‘swindle’

By IndepthAfrica
In East Africa
Sep 5th, 2012
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Anyiam-Osigwe: we didn’t participate in any oil transaction

DID Zambia pay a Nigerian businessman $5million commission for crude oil that was never delivered?

“Not a single drop” was transported to Zambia, Mines, Energy and Water Development Permanent Secretary George Zulu said at a media briefing at the weekend.

Speaking in Lusaka, Mr Zulu said he recently travelled to Nigeria where he met the businessman, George Anyiam-Osigwe, who, according to him, claimed that he had been acting as a middleman between Zambia and Nigeria for the supply of crude oil.

Mr. Osigwe denied any wrongdoing yesterday.

Zulu said: “The President of the Republic Zambia recently sent me to Nigeria because he has always wanted to have cheaper or affordable prices of fuel in Zambia.

“In Nigeria, there’s a gentleman called George Anyiam-Osigwe, a Nigerian national, who claimed he was given $5 million commission from the Zambian Government over the deal.

“He claimed that he had been at the centre of negotiations between the Zambian Government and the Nigerian Government to supply crude oil. So I sought permission to go to Nigeria to speak to Anyiam-Osigwe and it is true. This man was engaged.”

Zulu said he was shocked with what he found in Nigeria, adding that the oil purported to have been supplied did not reach Zambia, yet documentation existed indicating that the Zambian Government had paid for the supply of the commodity.

“This agreement has been in place for the past few years, except that the previous administration treated this matter in a confidential manner such that we are not sure whether the nation benefited from this arrangement.

“Due to this uncertainty, the government would engage investigative wings to look into this matter to ascertain what actually happened,” he said.

Zulu said if it was established that some individuals’ actions were questionable, the law would take its course.

“The nation will be kept abreast on the developments of this issue,” he said.

The permanent secretary said the government was finalising procurement of crude oil from Nigeria through a Government-to-Government bilateral arrangement, adding that the two countries had continued enjoying cordial relations and would not let an individual jeopardise that friendship. Zulu said the conclusion of the negotiations and subsequent signing of the contract on finished products was an assurance that the country would have a stable supply of fuel.

“I will inform the nation in due course regarding the progress on the conclusion of the contractual processes with the preferred supplier of petroleum feedstock,” he said.

Trafigura PTE Oil analyst, Letessier Guillaume said the one-year contract was valued at $500 million involving the supply of 216 million litres of diesel and 21 million litres of unleaded petrol.The NAtion

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