Enclosed herewith are the following:
(i) Front page “BusinessDay” newspaper June 8, 2022.
(ii) Headline: “For bribing NNPC officials, others, US keeps Glencore $1.2bn fine
The United States has fined Swiss-based oil trader Glencore the sum of $1.2 billion as penalty for bribes paid to corrupt officials in Nigeria and other countries, in a move that rewards a country that suffered no damage from the company’s crime.
Glencore routinely gets awarded crude lifting contracts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC). Following prolonged investigations by Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the United States, two Glencore subsidiaries pleaded guilty May 24 to multiple charges of market manipulation and bribery, including corruption related to the company’s oil operations in Africa and South America.
Glencore’s penalties to the US alone for violating the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and manipulating commodity prices is about $1.2 billion. The company is registered in the US, hence the investigation.
According to the investigating countries, Glencore’s corrupt actions included more than $100 million in bribes to officials in Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Venezuela between 2007 and 2018.
The pair were awarded dozens of crude cargoes worth about $1.5 billion, according to the prosecutors. Nigeria received little of the proceeds of those sales, which prosecutors say were diverted for Madueke and her associates
Last year, a former staff of Glencore confessed that he paid bribes to intermediaries on the understanding that it would be passed on to NNPC officials to influence the government’s crude oil allocation during Alison Diezani Madueke’s tenure as petroleum minister.
Anthony Stimler, currently helping US Justice Department investigators into the company and former colleagues, said for a dozen years, he had paid millions in bribes to African officials and intermediaries.
“When I made requests for payments to intermediaries, I was aware that other Glencore traders who worked with me were doing the same thing by directing our intermediaries to make bribe payments to government officials,” Stimler told a federal judge in New York, according to a transcript of his guilty plea.
“I intended that a proportion of the payment to intermediaries operating in Nigeria were to be passed on to Nigerian state-owned oil company officials. The purpose of the payment was to influence those officials’ decisions regarding the Nigerian government’s allocations of crude oil cargo.”
Most of these fraudulent transactions occurred when Madueke was petroleum minister in the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
US prosecutors said two associates of the minister set up companies shortly after she took office and were awarded contracts to sell large allotments of oil on global markets.
The pair were awarded dozens of crude cargoes worth about $1.5 billion, according to the prosecutors. Nigeria received little of the proceeds of those sales, which prosecutors say were diverted for Madueke and her associates.
They say that over the course of 2013 and 2014, Glencore bought 15 cargoes totalling 7 million barrels from the men, paying more than $800 million. Of that, they contend, roughly a third — $272 million — was diverted into an account at a Nigerian bank used for the purchases for Madueke.
Following Buhari’s election in 2015, Madueke fled Nigeria and has been living in London. She has been charged with corruption by Nigerian authorities but has so far successfully evaded extradition, and she is under investigation by UK authorities as well.
“The scope of this criminal bribery scheme is staggering,” said US Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York. “Glencore paid bribes to secure oil contracts. Glencore paid bribes to avoid government audits. Glencore bribed judges to make lawsuits disappear. At bottom, Glencore paid bribes to make money – hundreds of millions of dollars. And it did so with the approval, and even encouragement, of its top executives.”
According to the US Department of Justice release, in the DRC, Glencore admitted that it conspired to and did corruptly offer and pay approximately $27.5 million to third parties, while intending for a portion of the payments to be used as bribes to DRC officials, in order to secure improper business advantages.
Glencore also admitted to the bribery of officials in Brazil and Venezuela. In Brazil, the company caused approximately $147,202 to be used, at least in part, as corrupt payments for Brazilian officials. In Venezuela, Glencore admitted to conspiring to secure and securing improper business advantages by paying over $1.2 million to an intermediary company that made corrupt payments for the benefit of a Venezuelan official.
Following the US decision to fine Glencore and keep the proceeds, the African Energy Chamber is calling on the US government to use the $1.2 billion in penalties Glencore is paying to empower Africans.
“They’re the real victims of Glencore’s malfeasance and mistakes,” the group said.
According to AEC, Glencore’s penalties should go to organisations like Power Africa, a public-private partnership formed by the US to help address energy poverty in sub-Saharan Africa — a goal shared by the African Energy Chamber.
Read also: Glencore bribed NNPC officials for crude lifting contracts under Madueke – ex-staff
Glencore’s corruption and state capture have undermined efforts to make energy poverty history. Directing money to Power Africa will help change living conditions for more than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who currently go without reliable electricity, the group said.
Alternatively, the group said African countries need trillions of dollars to finance their transition to renewable energies in support of international climate goals and the funds could go a long way.”
(iii) Front page report “ThisDay” newspaper of June 10, 2022
Headline: “Court discharges, acquits wife of former PPMC MD, five others of alleged money laundering charges”
. Orders immediate unfreezing of bank accounts, unsealing of properties
“Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court yesterday freed Mrs. Ochuko Momoh, wife of a former Managing Director of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Mr. Haruna Momoh and five others in a money laundering related charges.
Justice Taiwo in a judgment delivered held that the prosecution failed to prove its allegations against the defendants.
The court accordingly discharged and acquit them from the charge.
The court in addition ordered that all her bank accounts as well as that of her companies frozen as a result of the case be immediately unfrozen, “upon service” of the judgment on the plaintiff and the affected banks.
The court also ordered the prosecution to immediately unseal all properties both immovable and movable belonging to Mrs. Momoh.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) had in 2020, arraigned the defendants on a 22-count criminal charge bordering on alleged money laundering running into billions of naira.
They pleaded not guilty to all the charges and were admitted to bail so as to prepare effectively for their defense. Besides Mrs. Momoh, other defendants included Blessing Azuka-Agozi, Stanbic IBTC Bank plc, Energopol Nigeria Limited, Blaid Construction Limited and Blaid Farms Limited.