Saturday, January 22

BP and Glencore Lawsuits Allege Role of Oil Trading in Nigerian Elections


The lawsuits in London and New York have shed light on how fees that commercial companies paid agents to obtain oil contracts from Nigeria’s state energy company may have raised funds for the country’s last two elections.

A former BP Plc oil trader alleged this week that cargo allocations from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation could have contributed to preparations for the 2019 general election. And a former Glencore Plc employee admitted in July to having paid an intermediary $ 300,000 to secure a shipment of crude from the NNPC, understanding that the money would be spent in the national vote that took place four years earlier.

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An NNPC spokesperson did not respond to three calls and three text messages seeking comment.

Zarembok said in a witness statement released this month that emails sent in 2017 by a BP executive in Nigeria were a “clear red flag” and implied that “there would be pressure to pay bribes.” The emails discussed how preparations for the 2018 elections would begin. “We understand what that means,” the executive wrote. Jonathan Zarembok, who left BP’s West Africa office last year, said in the lawsuit that he suspected the fees paid by the UK energy giant to obtain NNPC contracts would go towards the 2019 elections. He filed a job lawsuit against BP , alleging that he was fired for raising concerns about the large sums being transferred to intermediaries to obtain business in Nigeria.

The company then transferred $ 900,000 in fees to a local agent after securing two shipments of oil from NNPC, he said.

“BP fully defends itself and denies all allegations made by the claimant,” the company said in a statement. He declined to comment further as the Zarembok case continues in a London labor court.

President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling Congress of All Progressives retained power in the 2019 vote. Presidential spokesmen did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment on Zarembok’s allegations.

Similar details emerged two months ago, when Anthony Stimler, who left Glencore in 2019, pleaded guilty to corruption and money laundering charges.

Stimler was notified in September 2014 that “foreign official 1” was asking all NNPC customers to pay an advance on each shipment “in connection with the upcoming political elections,” according to US court documents. He then had Glencore wire $ 300,000 to an intermediary company, which prosecutors say was used “to pay bribes to Nigerian officials.”

US prosecutors described how Stimler and others paid bribes worth millions of dollars in various countries, including NNPC officials, between 2007 and 2018. A Glencore spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

“The conduct described in the plea is unacceptable and does not take place at Glencore,” the company said in a statement on July 26.

Bloomberg previously reported that the anonymous “foreign official 1” refers to Diezani Alison-Madueke, who served as Nigeria’s oil minister and oversaw the NNPC between 2010 and 2015. Her party, the People’s Democratic Party, lost the elections in March. of 2015 before the APC of Buhari. .

Nigerian authorities are trying to extradite Alison-Madueke from the UK to face corruption charges. She has previously denied wrongdoing.

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