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Oil Theft: FG May Revoke Licence of Indicted Banks

The Federal Government may revoke the license of money deposit banks indicted in warehousing proceeds from stolen crude oil in the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari had said in Abuja that the government has already identified banks and other financial institutions that took in deposits from proceeds of oil theft.

A senior government official told Business Journal in Abuja that the federal government was seriously considering stern sanctions, including revocation of operating licences, against banks and other institutions that are eventually indicted by the on-going investigation into the oil theft issue in the spirit of the anti-corruption campaign of the Buhari administration.

He said from all indications so far in the investigation, a number of banks in the country deliberately took in deposits from those suspected of perpetrating the theft in the oil industry, mainly to shore up their deposit base. He said however that the final decision would be taken when all the material evidence are brought and examined thoroughly.

The said official hinted that those indicted in the investigation would be invited to Abuja and given the opportunity to explain their involvement in the affair before sanctions are meted out. He said the government was working assiduously with a number of international intelligence and financial bodies to fully determine the total amount involved and process of recovery.

At a parley with a group of U.S., Congressmen led by Rep. Darrel Issa, the president had said:” “We are getting cooperation from the international community, including information on ships that take crude oil from Nigeria and change direction, or pour their contents into other ships mid-stream.

Some monies were paid to individual accounts. We are identifying the financial institutions and countries that are involved. I have been assured that when we get all our documents together, the United States and other countries will treat our case with sympathy.”

To address the issue, the government is also looking at two key reports: The Thabo Mbeki High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa and the Financial Global Integrity Report 2008-2012. While the Thabo Mbeki stated that about N10.08 trillion was stolen in a period of 10 years, as much as N6.87 trillion of that amount was traced to illegal transfers from Nigeria (2001-2010).

On its own, the FGI Report stated that of the $1trillion allegedly stolen from developing countries, over-invoicing of government contracts accounted for higher percentage of the amount.

Business Journal
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