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Oil Minister In Oil Business - Politics - Nairaland

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Oil Minister In Oil Business by sharpman1(m): 11:49am On Feb 02, 2009
Re: Oil Minister In Oil Business by sharpman1(m): 12:30pm On Feb 02, 2009
Rilwanu Lukman's tangled web

By Musiliku Mojeed,Idris Akinbajo,and Elor Nkereuwem

February 2, 2009 10:56AMT


Although he is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Rilwanu Lukman is a major shareholder and director of a raft of offshore companies active in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria and the surrounding Gulf of Guinea, our investigations showed.

Mr. Lukman's tangled web of business interests are indisputably a conflict of interest for the 70-year-old minister, perhaps Nigeria's most famous oilman. He became minister on Dec. 18 2008 and, before that, served as President Umaru Yar'Adua's special adviser for the same industry. He also had previously been minister or adviser under various past administrations, and served also as Opec secretary general, based in Vienna.

As of Monday, Mr. Lukman remained a director and major shareholder in at least four companies actively pursuing business in the industry over which he presides as minister, according to official records obtained by NEXT on Sunday.
Mr. Lukman claimed South African citizenship in the registration documents of one of the companies, Africa Heritage Oil & Gas Ltd, while declaring himself a Nigerian in the others. It is perfectly legal for a Nigerian to also maintain citizenship of another country, and that fact alone would not disqualify from membership of Mr. Yar'Adua's cabinet.

It is unclear whether the president is aware of Mr. Lukman's business interests, or what efforts, if any, were made to vet him prior to his appointment. None of these issues were raised during his confirmation hearing before the Senate, which maintains a weird and unaccountable process of conducting confirmation hearings without insisting on which specific portfolio the president intended to assign a nominee.

Segun Adeniyi, the presidential spokesman, declined to address any issues related to Mr. Lukman's businesses, directing inquiries to Mr. Lukman.

But repeated attempts to get the minister to defend himself were rebuffed by his aides. Mr. Lukman himself ignored calls and text messages sent to his mobile telephone.

Mr. Lukman's companies are Africa Heritage Investments Ltd; Africa Heritage Oil & Gas Ltd; Africa Heritage Industrial Ltd; and Africa Heritage Logistics Ltd- all registered in London between Nov. 7 2005 and Oct. 10 2006.
The case of the Africa Heritage Oil & Gas Ltd offers a particular puzzle because, although it was incorporated on the same day as the Africa Heritage Investments Ltd, on Nov. 22 2006, Mr. Lukman claimed South African citizenship for the Oil and Gas company while claiming Nigerian citizenship on the board of the Africa Heritage Investments Ltd.

Moreover, Mr. Lukman is still indicated as a member of the Supervisory Board of the Dutch multinational Dietsmann NV, where he is Chairman of the "Selection & Appointments Committee". Dietsmann NV is a leader in the field of global operations and maintenance services in the oil and gas industry, utilities and other industrial sectors.

The year 2004 appears to have been a particularly busy one in the investment trajectory of Mr. Lukman, after he resigned as special adviser on petroleum matters to then President Olusegun Obasanjo. That year he helped form, in London, a raft of companies, many in the energy sector and with eyes on the Nigerian petrochemical market.

The most famous of all is an independent oil and gas exploration, development and production company called Afren. The objective of Afren, according to company records, is to maintain "an attractive, diversified and balanced portfolio of African assets, with an initial focus on the Gulf of Guinea region." The central question however is whether an oil minister with substantial investments in the oil and gas industry has crossed the line if he fails to report and indicate clearly how his involvement does not constitute a conflict of interest.

After helping to form Afren in 2004, Mr. Lukman later assumed Chairmanship in 2006 with voting rights on 33% of issued shares although he held only 1.74% of the equity.

Afren was a particularly lucrative venture, pumping about 3,000 barrels per day from the Nigerian field Okoro Setu, and 5,000 barrels of oil equivalent from block CI-11 of the shore of Ivory Coast. Apart from Afren, Lukman has ties of one manner or another with a raft of companies such as Afgas, Gasol, African Gas Development Corp., African LNG Holdings - which seek to invest in LNG and gas projects in the Gulf of Guinea.

Following his appointment as minister, however, Lukman resigned from Afren's board. He was replaced by Egbert Imomoh, former deputy managing director of Royal Dutch/Shell Nigeria.

NEXT also found that he placed his shares in Afren in a blind trust. But upon his departure, he was awarded an additional 650,000 shares in the company, as a parting gift. Lukman also stepped down from his post as strategic adviser to the firm Gasol which is linked to Afren through a complex system of cross-holdings.

As he failed to respond to several requests to be interviewed for this story, we were unable to determine why Mr. Lukman did not do the same for the four businesses placed under the banner of the African Heritage Investments Ltd. We could also not ascertain his motivation for claiming South African citizenship for Africa Heritage Oil & Gas.

Mr. Lukman is not new to strong allegations of conflict of interest. According to a yet unpublished report of a House of Representatives committee which investigated the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Department of Petroleum Resources during his tenure as presidential adviser on petroleum resources, Mr. Lukman improperly caused an oil bloc to be awarded in a manner that "did not follow due process." The Committee found that Mr. Lukman's office illegally shortcircuited the process in the award of a prospecting license (OPL 256) in 2002 to Ocean Energy Nigeria Ltd. by inviting only two companies to bid for the license.

According to the House report: "Two companies bidded for this block purely on ‘invitation'. Who did the ‘inviting' and the circumstances of the invitation are unclear. It was however established that a memo from the office of the Presidential Adviser, Petroleum and Energy dated October 21st 2002 authorised the ‘selective bid'. The bids were opened two days later on October 23, 2002; and the block awarded the next day October 24, 2002 to Ocean Energy Nigeria Limited." The only two companies that participated in the process were Ocean Energy and Statoil Nigeria Ltd.

The committee concluded that "the award of this block did not follow due process, " adding that "The duo of Rilwanu Lukman and Engineer Funso Kupolokun (managing director of the NNPC) should be reprimanded for arrogating to themselves the discretionary powers of the Minister."

The report also remarked that: "Furthermore, their role in the award of this block should be thoroughly investigated to establish if any malfeasance borne out of interest influenced the circumstance of this award, and prosecuted if such malfeasance is established."

Last Dec. 18, as he became petroleum minister for the fourth time at the ripe old age of 70, Mr. Lukman took the oath at the Aso Presidential Villa in Abuja to assume office . He pledged that he will not allow any "personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions."

In the period since he left active public office as cabinet minister in 1993 however, Lukman initiated a low key investment profile by registering Taofiq Securities Limited, which was incorporated in London and which had him and his son, Ahmed, as sole directors. Two years earlier, he had registered a partnership, R. Lukman & Co Ltd with his daughter, Ramatu.
Re: Oil Minister In Oil Business by jamace(m): 8:54pm On Feb 02, 2009
Thankgod, he knows that his days are numbered that is why he has started sharing his property. Vanity upon vanity, all is vanity.
Re: Oil Minister In Oil Business by noetic(m): 10:53pm On Feb 02, 2009
Which public officer in Nigeria is not already compromised by affiliation b4 coming to power?. . , . . no be today. . .
Re: Oil Minister In Oil Business by Kobojunkie: 10:56pm On Feb 02, 2009
jamace:

Thankgod, he knows that his days are numbered that is why he has started sharing his property. Vanity upon vanity, all is vanity.

Which Rilwanu Lukman? The same one that has been in oil for over 20 years in the same country? The same man that headed NNPC back when I was still in primary school and has remained up there for so long? This I have to see.
Re: Oil Minister In Oil Business by jamace(m): 7:11am On Feb 03, 2009
Which Rilwanu Lukman? The same one that has been in oil for over 20 years in the same country? The same man that headed NNPC back when I was still in primary school and has remained up there for so long? This I have to see.


My brother, na the same man o. The same man you read about in Social Studies class those days o angry.
Re: Oil Minister In Oil Business by blacksta(m): 7:29am On Feb 03, 2009
I hear , failed Country. No hope at all . You guys can complain all you can especially behind your computer. If you are not ready fight it simply equates to no CHANGE. This poo will forever happen. Chop and pass on to your children so they chop as well.

Most advance countries will never allow this to happen. Major conflict of interest.
Re: Oil Minister In Oil Business by Kobojunkie: 5:39pm On Feb 03, 2009
How do you fight? Who do you fight? these are the questions that remain.
Re: Oil Minister In Oil Business by BOSS7: 7:06pm On Feb 03, 2009
blacksta:

I hear , failed Country. No hope at all . You guys can complain all you can especially behind your computer. If you are not ready fight it simply equates to no CHANGE. This poo will forever happen. Chop and pass on to your children so they chop as well.

Most advance countries will never allow this to happen. Major conflict of interest.
How do you think we could fight though? I think a lot of people are fed up and are willing to fight however the manner of approach is what's remained a puzzle.
Re: Oil Minister In Oil Business by jamace(m): 8:14pm On Feb 03, 2009
How do you fight? Who do you fight? these are the questions that remain.

How can we fight when our brothers will rise against us. Only Okonkwo can stickout his neck in this situation. Things have fallen apart sad.

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