Energy Gas Oil

Police invite three Indians over arrested vessel with alleged stolen oil

The Nigeria Police have unmasked three Indians and five Nigerians (names withheld) as sponsors of an oil bunkering vessel, MT Kali, which was impounded for illegally siphoning crude oil from the platform of the Anglo-Dutch energy giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), in Bayelsa State.
Similarly, the police have arrested a popular Lagos-based oil and gas magnate (names withheld) who is the alleged owner and sponsor of MT Harbor Spirit, a Moldovan ship, which was also arrested siphoning crude oil illegally from Sengana oilfields in the coastal axis of Bayelsa State on February 4, 2024.
The oil merchant, whose office is located in Ikeja, Lagos Sate, was arrested on Monday as he honoured the invitation of the police investigating the operations of the illegal bunkering ship.
LEADERSHIP learnt that he was promptly whisked to Abuja on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun.
He has since been kept in custody as police detectives try to establish his culpability in the shady oil deals.
However, one of our reliable sources in the police hinted that the Indians, who are members of the management team of a major oil company operating in Kwale axis of Delta State, are yet to honour the police invitation.
Their emissaries, identified as retired naval rear admiral and captain, as well as a retired assistant superintendent of police who came to represent the foreign nationals, claimed that the Indians were out of the country.
The police, however were said to have insisted that the Indian suspects must honour the invitation personally upon their return to the country.
However, findings by the police revealed that the Indians and Nigerians were the promoters of Deep Frontline Shippers Limited, which allegedly procured MT Kali for the illegal assignment.
The Indians, according to the police report, also registered over 150 other companies with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), with which they engage in a series of businesses in the nation’s oil and gas sectors.
The MT Kali was impounded by the joint team of a private security company, Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSL), and the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) while siphoning crude oil from Pennington oil fields of SPDC in Bayelsa State, on January 11, 2024.
Twenty-three suspects, made up of 12 crew members and 11 host community boys offering operational support to the crew to successfully carry out the nefarious assignment in their areas, were apprehended in the manhunt by TSSL and NSCDC operatives.
Findings by LEADERSHIP revealed that Egbetokun directed the Police Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering (IGP-STFPIB) under the command of Mr. Lot Lantoh Garba, an assistant commissioner of police, to launch a discreet investigation into the arrest of the two oil equipment.
It was gathered during the weekend that Garba had submitted an interim report to Egbetokun on the matter.
Impeccable sources within IGP-STFPIB informed our correspondent that enquiries from CAC by the police revealed that that MT Kali was actually registered in the name of Frontline Shippers Limited, as against the initial fake name, Sasna Global and Sasna Global Resources Limited, given by the captain of the ship, Mr. David Adeboye, to the investigators and the media.
Also, the police were able to establish, with the assistance of the Nigeria Maritime and Safety Administration Agency (NIMASA), that the vessel was deleted from the Nigerian maritime networks since February 1, 2022 and that it had no valid permit to sail on Nigerian waters without a valid certificate of registry and applicable trading certificates.
One of the sources further stated that “the Indians, who were captured in the CAC records of Deep Frontline Shippers Ltd, were in charge of the finance of the company and are also associated with 150 other corporate entities,” including an oil company operating in Kwale axis of Delta State (names withheld).
“The registered address of Deep Frontline Shippers Ltd is at 140, Umuseti Road, Kwale, Delta state, with registration number, RC: 885336.”
“Response from the CAC dated 29th January, 2023 on Sasna Global revealed that the company records cannot readily be confirmed in their records. Response from CAC dated 29th January, 2024, revealed that Deep Frontline Shippers Ltd is registered on 5th May, 2010, with RC: 885336 having the following information.”
“It is a private company limited by shares having a total share capital of N25 million”, one of the police sources, who craved anonymity, stated.
The names of the directors and their shareholding in the establishment were listed in the report.
LEADERSHIP further learnt that the Garba-led investigation team made a four-point recommendations to the IGP on changes to be brought against he suspects: conspiracy to tamper with oil pipeline as provided for in section 3 (6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act 2010 and tampering with oil pipeline as provided for in section 1 (7) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act 2010; conspiracy to deal in petroleum product (without lawful authority or appropriate license) as provided for in section 3 (6) of the miscellaneous offences 2010, and dealing in petroleum product (without lawful authority or appropriate license) as provided for in section 1 (17) of the miscellaneous offences Act 2010.
When contacted yesterday, IGP-STPIB’s head of investigation, CSP Omar John Sini, confirmed the arrest of the Lagos-based oil magnate, saying he had been in police custody in the past seven days.
Sini said charges were being filled against him, and he would appear in court within the next few days.
On the fate of the Indians, Sini said they must appear personally to defend themselves, otherwise the police would go after them if they fail to willingly submit themselves for investigation.
We invited three Indians whom investigations revealed are linked to the arrested MT Kali, but a retired naval Rear Admiral and Captain as well as a retired police ASP, apparently from the security department of their company, who came to represent them, claimed that the Indians are presently out of the country and that the ship in question, MT Kali, had been sold by the Indians before it was arrested.
“We told the emissaries that they can neither speak nor represent the Indians and we demanded that the Indians must return to the country immediately to clear themselves before the police, otherwise we will go after them.
“We also requested that they should produce the new owners of the ship, which they have done. We are expecting the person identified as new owner, a woman, to appear before us tomorrow (Monday),” Sini added in a telephone interview with our correspondent.

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