Brass LNG: Senate mandates probe over alleged $784m fraud



The Senate yesterday mandated its committees on public accounts and gas to investigate the alleged $784,265,947.54 fraud and other activities of Brass Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG, including an illegal account in the name of the Federal Government.

Drawing the attention of senators to the issue, Dino Melaye (Kogi-APC) accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, of operating a fraudulent account in the name of the Nigerian government.

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Presenting a motion titled “Monumental corruption at the NNPC ”, Melaye noted that the Brass LNG was incorporated by the Corporate Affairs Commission on December 9, 2003 and limited by shares of $1 million.

He said: “The senate observes that the shareholders of this company are: the Federal Government (NNPC) represented by Mr. Funsho Kupolokun with $490, 000 shares, Philip Brass Limited whose address is in Cayman Island, British West Indies represented by Mr. R.L. Smith with a share capital of $170, 000, Eni International B.V with address in Amsterdam, Netherlands represented by Mr. A. Forzoli with share of S170, 000, while the fourth shareholder Chevron Texaco Brass LNG Limited with address in Bemuda represented by Mr. J.R. Pryor with a share of $170, 000.”

Melaye said the board of directors of the company was composed of foreigners and five Nigerians, all NNPC staff or ex-staff members.

He listed them to include Gauis Obaseki-Jackson, Former GMD NNPC, Yakubu Andrew, Former GMD NNPC, Ibogomo Gbeyansa, Staff NNPC, Dawa Joseph Thlama, Staff NNPC, Ige David, Staff NNPC and Mr. Buba Mohamman.

Melaye added: “The senate observes that from the Memorandum of Understanding, Brass LNG is supposed to be a Joint Venture Company with NNPC having the controlling shares and their account domiciled with the CBN.

“The senate is surprised that the account of this company is with Keystone Bank opened on August 1, 2012 with account number 1005825168 a USA domiciliary account with a closing balance of $137, 086, 462:54 currently, while $648, 179, 487 was recorded as the account’s last inflow on September 19, 2016 and a withdrawal of $4 million was effected on the 18th November, 2016 without BVN.”

He stated that there is an urgent need to define the position of the company, its operation, management and mandate in order to halt the seeming corruption.

The senate in its resolution mandated its committees on public accounts and gas to carry out a ‘holistic investigation into the activities of the Brass LNG and the complicity therein as well as the level of corruption that has taken place and report back within four weeks.’