Investigations by SaharaReporters reveal that Midwestern Oil and Gas, an oil company cited by agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the distribution of slush funds provided by former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, was registered by the Delta State government in 1999 during the tenure of Governor James Ibori, currently serving a 13-year-old jail term in the United Kingdom. Our investigative team found out that the firm was used to earmark more than $30 million that former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan plowed into electoral campaigns in Delta State. Our sources in the state revealed that Mr. Uduaghan, a cousin to imprisoned former Governor James Ibori, acted in concert with the former governor who played a key role in state elections despite his incarceration.
Our investigations also showed that Midwestern Oil and Gas has since mutated several times, with the firm’s equity stake sold off to numerous cronies of former Governor Ibori, leaving Delta State with a mere 15% interest in the company.
According to investigations by Premiumtimes.com, Midwestern Oil and Gas was initially registered as a company owned by the government of Delta state on December 15, 1999.
The company was registered with 50 million shares, which was increased to 150 million shares in 2012. Its registration number is RC: 370639.
The initial directors in the company were the permanent secretaries representing the state’s Ministries of Commerce, Tourism and Cooperation, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning as well as the Solicitor General and permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice.
Company documents at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Abuja show that the company has changed directors more than 20 times since its incorporation in 1999.
Currently, 19 corporate entities own 50 million shares in the company. There are no documents to indicate who owns the remaining 100 million shares belonging to Midwestern Oil and Gas limited.
The company’s current directors include Onajite Okoloko, Adams Okoene, Charles Odita, Gbesimi Akperi, Kweku Mensah Sagoe and Chrisehi Omoru. Others are Kennedy Uwagboe, Chukwuemeka Okwuosa and Victor Okolo.
Three politically connected sources in Delta State told SaharaReporters that the ownership of Midwestern Oil and Gas was now solely in the hands of Mr. Ibori and his cronies. Our investigation further revealed that Midwestern Oil and Gas was the vehicle used in laundering funds used for the 2015 elections in Delta State. In addition, a portion of the funds sourced through the firm found its way into the campaign war chest of former President Goodluck Jonathan. One of the firm’s directors, Jite Okoloko, arranged to make a contribution of $9.1m to Mr. Jonathan’s campaign.
Our investigations revealed that former Governor Uduaghan arranged to take out more than $30m from the company’s account to fund the primaries election of David Edevbie, former Governor Ibori’s ex-Commissioner of Finance and later Principal Secretary to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. After Mr. Edevbie’s bid to become a governorship candidate failed, Mr. Uduaghan funneled the rest of the money to help fund Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s election.
Our sources disclosed that the funds taken from Midwestern Oil and Gas Company Ltd went specifically to bribing officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig elections for former President Jonathan and Mr. Okowa. While INEC officials delivered Delta State to Mr. Okowa, they could not help Mr. Jonathan even after his figures were inflated by almost 300%.
One INEC official, Fidelia Omoile (electoral officer in Isoko-South local government area of Delta State), collected N112,480,000 in bribe cash. Another official, Uluochi Brown (INEC’s administrative secretary in Delta State), received N111,500,000 from bribes routed through Fidelity Bank. One source told SaharaReporters that INEC’s electoral commissioner in Delta State received at least N1.2 billion.