Young oil magnate, Kola Aluko, will soon be on the wanted list of International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) following his failure to return to Nigeria to answer questions on his business deals, TheCable has been informed.
Aluko, who is known for his love for yachts, private jets, fast cars and lavish parties ─ and has been seen hand-in-hand with supermodel Naomi Campbell (pictured) ─ has fled the country and is currently holed up in Switzerland, where he has citizenship.
The founder of Fossil Resources, a downstream company, and co-director of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited, an upstream company, has been making tabloid headlines for his astonishing wealth and was recently listed on Forbes 40 richest Africans.
However, he has had a dramatic falling out with the minister of petroleum resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, and his assets in Nigeria are now a target for confiscation.
TheCable was told that the federal government has decided to enlist Interpol to arrest and bring him back to Nigeria “to vomit what he has swallowed”.
Industry sources informed TheCable that Aluko, who has been named in many controversial deals in the oil sector, might have played “a fast one” on Alison-Madueke.
“It is mainly an issue of breach of trust, breach of a gentleman’s agreement,” a source ─ who is in the know of the deals ─ said.
It was initially understood that the oil deals he was getting ─ including mining licences and crude oil trading ─ were meant to finance political campaigns.
Bureaux de change
Over a stretch of time, hundreds of millions of dollars were moved out of the country through banks and bureaux de change by some Nigerian-owned oil companies, Aluko’s inclusive.
Two banks were used to launder the funds out of the country, and, curiously, one of the suspected CEOs has now been given a major political appointment in the financial sector.
Trouble started for Aluko when he bought a £150 million yacht last year and it became a global media sensation.
This particular development raised eyebrows in the corridors of power.
“The long and short of it is that Aluko can no longer account for all the money that he shipped out. That was the beginning of his problems,” another source, a senior official at the ministry of petroleum, said.
Alison-Madueke was “shocked and destabilised at the betrayal” and swiftly moved against the 44-year-old’s businesses.
“Kola ran out of the country when they started demanding the cash. He claimed he had already remitted billions and there was nothing to be remitted again. This is one of the biggest scandals in Nigeria since 2010,” the official said.
Aluko owns luxury property in very expensive and exclusive neighbourhoods across New York, Beverly Hills, London, Las Vegas, Dubai, Paris, Monaco and Miami.
He also owns the Galactica Star Yacht, which he acquired in June 2013. Galactica Star is a one-of-its-kind custom-built Super Yacht. The 65-metre-long play boat is the newest and largest Heesen yacht ever built.
All these luxury expenses are believed to have created a big hole for him, although he insisted to friends that he had taken “enough” care of the interest of his principals.
Aluko was a beneficiary of controversial oil deals in 2010. A company he has interest in, Septa Energy, a subsidiary of Seven Energy, got oil mining licences for some blocks formerly operated by Shell.
Under the relevant laws, the ownership of the blocks was to revert to the federal government through the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) but the NNPC subsidiary claimed it did not have the funds to operate them.
Subsequently, the operatorships of the seven blocks were handed over to a consortium of local companies without any competitive bidding, and the companies were in turn given crude allocation as “equity payment” by NPDC under the Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA).
However, industry experts and anti-corruption campaigners questioned the wisdom of the deal, especially as it was later discovered that these companies leveraged on the same oil blocks to raise the needed finance.
NPDC could have adopted the same financing option without having to involve the companies and having to pay them with crude oil for its own share of the cost, they argued.
To worsen matters, it was calculated that the nation lost $750 million in the deal, as the companies were allowed to pay only $50 million to the federation account instead of the real value of $800 million.
TheCable could not reach either Alison-Madueke or Aluko. While calls to Aluko’s mobile phone did not go through, the minister did not reply messages sent to her phone.