PRESS RELEASE from The Berne Declaration (BD)

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Zurich/Lausanne, 13th of November 2013

BD oil report triggers parliamentary investigation in Nigeria

Yesterday, the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ordered an immediate investigation into a multibillion dollar scheme used by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Nigerian importers, in connivance with Swiss oil traders, to rip Nigeria off to the tune of nearly $7 billion. The Berne Declaration (BD) welcomes this political decision which follows last week’s publication of its report, ‘Swiss traders’ opaque deals in Nigeria’, hoping more light will be shed on the way Nigeria’s most valuable resource is wasted. The BD also brings answers to NNPC’s “lame refutal” (Premium Times) of the report and addresses further questions to the powerful national oil company.

Last week, the BD released a report that showed on the one hand the problematic circumstances under which Nigerian crude oil was sold to traders, in particular through two Bermudan joint ventures between NNPC and Vitoland NNPC and Trafigura. On the other hand the report highlighted Switzerland’s role as a trading hub for the fraudulent fuel import scheme, a scheme that resulted in the illegitimate collection by local importers of subsidies worth 6.8 billion dollars.

Following a motion sponsored by the honorable Abudu-Balogun, the lower Chamber of Nigeria’s parliament has given various of its committees – petroleum (upstream), petroleum (downstream) and justice – four weeks to carry out the probe. “The House is […] worried about the numerous damaging allegations contained in the report against […] NNPC and its subsidiaries accused of not publishing detailed financial reports since 2005,” says the motion.

The NNPC has criticized the allegations contained in the BD’s report. The BD has provided a point-by-point response to those criticisms, but is in any event more concerned by NNPC’s silence on specific questions raised by the report.

For more Information: Oliver Classen, Media Director, +41 44 277 70 06, oliver.classen@evb.ch

 

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