ANEEJ lauds EFCC for refuting oil theft allegation

By Francis Onoiribholo

The Executive Director of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), David Ugolor, on Tuesday gave kudos to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over reaction to oil deal.

The kudos came on the heels of EFCC’s prompt refutal of allegation published in the US-based Wall Street Journal that it allegedly sold crude oil seized from suspected oil thieves to Europe, using Saltpond oil platform located off the Ghanaian coastline.

Speaking in Benin, Ugolor said EFCC’s denial of any form of involvement in the Saltpond platform was timely and reasonable because, according to him, ”EFCC is not an oil marketing company and could not have issued any invoice to any oil trader to lift confiscated crude oil from Nigeria.

“The issue of oil theft in Nigeria has assumed a frightening dimension over the years and this is not only to our government, but to civil society in Nigeria and we welcome the United States’ investigations into the crude oil shipments from Saltpond allegedly by oil thieves.”

Ugolor, who said organisations and partners of EFCC were disturbed with the report, added that, “we agree with the EFCC that criminally-minded elements could forge documents to unduly implicated the EFCC.

“What we expected from the US investigators was a double-check with the EFCC on the so-called receipts dubiously prepared by the oil thieves before hitting the newsstand with their report”.

According to the latest Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the US launched investigation into crude oil shipments from Saltpond platform, a small oil facility off the coast of Ghana, due to strong suspicion that some of Nigeria’s stolen oil may be exported through the platform to Europe in recent months.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting United States officials, said America was probing Saltpond as part of the broader enquiry into how Nigeria’s crude oil is being stolen and exported by local and international syndicates.