Adoke, Obasanjo, Fayemi Allegedly Involved in Ajaokuta, Itakpe Scandal

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Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo, former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke and current minister of Steel and Solid Mineral Kayode Fayemi have been allegedly fingered in a shady deal associated with the August 1, 2016 modified re-concession agreement of Ajaokuta Steel Company of Nigeria (ASC).

According to Barrister Natasha Hadiza Akpoti alleged in an open letter to Nigerians dated 31 December 2016 and titled “Corrupt Practices Surrounding Ajaokuta and Itakpe”, she disclosed that the country had a good chance to reclaim both ASCN and NIOMCO, Itakpe base on unequivocal evidence but that the activities of one ‘Alhaji’, PwC and Adoke has made it impossible.

On August 1, 2016, the Federal Government signed a modify re-concession agreement with an Indian firm, Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited, GINL which led to Nigeria reclaiming the ASCN and the National Iron Ore Mining Company, NIOMCO, Itakpe which had earlier been concessioned to GINL.

However, the August 1, signing ceremony appeared to be a flash in the pan as Nigerians were made to believe what happened then was nothing but the truth.

She explained the Minister of Steel and Solid Mineral, Dr. Kayode Fayemi lied to President Buhari and Nigerians that the country had no evidence against GINL in the London Court of Arbitration.

She stated that Fayemi told Nigerians that “Nigeria already agreed that we were liable to pay somewhere in the region of $500 to $700m to GINL as estimated by BPE etc…”, and since Nigeria couldn’t afford that, it was agreed to give Itakpe back to the GINL in compensation for 7 years.

In her words: “Like Halliburton and Malabu oil scandals, Ajaokuta and Itakpe suffered greatly in the hands of Adoke who happens to be a son of Itakpe.

“One would have expected utmost care in executing his duties as the then Attorney General of Nigeria and lead representative of Nigeria at the Arbitration proceedings instituted in the London Court of International Arbitration by the GINL against Nigeria on the termination of Ajaokuta and Itakpe concessions by the late President Yar’Adua administration. But, he betrayed Nigeria. How?

“Nigeria had a very good chance of winning the arbitration case against the Indians as there were tons of evidence mainly from Inuwa Magaji’s report amongst others.

“GINL feared the anticipated lose and engaged Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) to help them “work” victory out through Nigeria’s corridors of power. PWC approached ‘Alhaji’ who was a close ally to Vice President Namadi Sambo. ‘Alhaji’ “discussed” with Adoke, spent a lot of money and a deal was struck.

“Adoke sought an approval from President Jonathan for an out of court settlement. This ended the arbitration in London court and started the mediation process supervised by Mr. Philip Howell Richardson. The first mediation meeting was in London on the 15th February 2013.

“A presidential committee was set up comprising of the V.P’s office, BPE, AGF, amongst others headed by the then Permanent Secretary Min. of Mines and Steel, Mrs. E.B.P. Emurem.”

She explained that the presidential ‘Kangaroo’ committee indicted Late President Yar’Adua of terminating the Ajaokuta and Itakpe concessions with GINL and estimated damages totally $525 million payable to GINL.

She added that the committee then arrived at a decision to compensate GINL with 7 years of Itakpe Iron Ore since Nigeria had no such money to pay, noting that Adoke got a presidential approval to execute this “modified fraudulent re-concession agreement” on the 7th of January 2015 but failed in executing it because the then Minister of Mines and Steel Arch. Sada refused to be a part of the fraud.

Unfortunately, Fayemi executed the same contract Adoke drafted even replicated the exact same grammatical errors contained in the Adoke’s contract.

“At the August 1st signing ceremony, Fayemi said there would be a joint forensic audit of the concessions and this is to be supervised by one of the top global four consultants which was PwC.

“Yes. Fayemi engaged PwC to supervise GINL’s concession, the same consultants that GINL engaged in 2012 to help pull strong strings to save GINL from losing totally.

GINL Belongs to ‘Alhaji’

Meanwhile, Natasha claims that the owner of GINL, not the famous Pramod Mittal but one ‘Alhaji’ who contacted her for a peace talk.

“He is an ‘Alhaji’ quite prominent in the circles of power especially during the Jonathan’s administration. This wasn’t his first time contacting me. He first called me up on the 12th of August after my Channel’s interview, then on 16th and 18th August 2016. I met with him on these 3 August dates but didn’t oblige his 26th December’s call. From my interactions with him I deduced the following facts:

“The pseudo partnerships of GINL- – GINL is no longer owned by Pramod Mittal. Pramod Mittal’s presence at the 1st August 2016 NIOMCO Itakpe’s re-concession was just part of the keeping – up – appearances-to –deceive Nigerians agreement between Pramod and ‘Alhaji’ who is the present owner of GINL. This ‘Alhaji’ has no expertise in operating mines. He is also not evidentially linked to GINL as most documents still bear Pramod Mittal to deceive Nigerians.

“Now that GINL has gotten NIOMCO, Itakpe back, they want to acquire Ajaokuta Steel complex too. ‘Alhaji’ asked that I connect them with TyazhPromExport (TPE for short, the original builders of the plant from Soviet Russia) as technical partners to facilitate their acquisition of Ajaokuta under a NEW NAME that would not connect the Nigerian public to GINL.

“Alhaji said he opted for Russia despite him being extremely connected to China (he is the chair of China’s largest construction firm in Nigeria) because he believe only the original builders will do sincere justice to Ajaokuta Steel mill but if I refused to bring them on board, he would go ahead to acquire Ajaokuta using his Chinese partners. I turned that down because I didn’t want to be a party to any deceptive “underground” arrangements and manipulations,” she claims.

Obasanjo’s connection

Barrister said Obasanjo’s washed hands are still very dirty.

“A lot of people ask why the call for the Original Builders return to their brainchild – Ajaokuta. Some even say the original builders are Ukrainians , some say Putin hates us and the evidence is his distance from Nigeria… This section will shock you.

She questioned why the following facts have been kept away from the Nigerian people.

1. On March 7th 2001, Obasanjo, Bola Ige amongst others visited Russia (Putin was the president then) and signed a bilateral agreement for the strengthening of relations and development of our steel sector and transfer of high technology amongst others.

2. This agreement led to Putin sending 40 experts from TPE (original builders) to conduct the technical evaluation of Ajaokuta steel plant. For 3 months the Russians worked along with Nigerian Russian trained engineers. They returned to Russia and prepared 6 volumes of detailed technical and the financial reports.

3. TPE’s submission required $421M for 1st phase completion (a Sulphuric Acid Plant and modification of Pig Cast Machines were additional variations made). President Obasanjo promised to release the money but months after, instructed NNPC to guarantee a $400m loan to be made available from BNP Paribas. This failed. ASCL Board and Management contacted UNIVERSAL GENERAL COMPANY (UGC), a UK Company, who agreed to grant a loan of $600m to ASCL and Putin directed with TPE to serve as Nigeria’s guarantors. BNP Paribas accepted.

4. Putin waited and waited for Obasanjo to meet up his own part of the agreement but Obasanjo was silent.

5. In March 2003, President Putin wrote to Obasanjo this letter below (Its translated but true version is attached):

6. With the technical documents at hand, the very next month of June 2003, President Obasanjo concessioned NIOMCO and ASCL to SolGas Energy, an unqualified company with zero experience or capacity to operate a mine or steel plant. This company was headed by Seun Oyefeso who was close friends with Gbenga Obasanjo.

7. SolGas fumbled in confusion around Ajaokuta and Itakpe then illegally sub-consessioned to Pramod Mittal’s Isplat which was converted to GINL.

The Barrister accused the Fayemi of selling off Nigeria’s assets to GINL.

“Hon. Fayemi, you said President Buhari handed over the Chinese firm to you and directed you “work” with them. I have confirmed that Mr. President did no such thing. Remember when you briefed him on your Nickel discovery in Kaduna, he said “Thank you, but how about Ajaokuta? Are the Russians on ground?”. To which you responded, “I am working on it “.

“No sir, you are not working on it. What you are working on is creating another kangaroo team of consultants headed by PwC amongst others who will supervise the Ajaokuta bid to produce your desired “technically and financially” qualified company.

“Sir, you also know that Nigeria doesn’t owe GINL one penny. You know the presidential committee reports hold no water and that GINL should not spend a day in Itakpe not to talk of 7 years. Sadly more, you didn’t tell Nigerians that the GINL reconsession is renewable for additional 10 years. That means 17 years in all… Why sell Nigeria off for nothing? Why??”

Natasha urged President Buhari to put in place an economic team and visit Putin.

“Let Russia say “No, Nigeria. We are not interested in developing your steel sector anymore” , then we can look elsewhere. Until then, please don’t go on a wild goose chase organizing a tendering and bid process of Ajaokuta and treat her like as a business.

“Ajaokuta is a national service and needs economic partners not business partners to revive her,” she added.

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