Senegal’s brewing oil and gas controversy reinforces need for Nigeria’s PIGB

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Cayar Offshore Profond and St. Louis Profond, two oil blocks in Senegal have caused controversy since 2012, when a previously unknown company called Petro-Tim was unexpectedly awarded the licence despite having no known track record in the industry.

Soon after, Aliou Sall, the president’s brother was hired at the company. Protests against the deal erupted in the capital Dakar in 2016 during President Macky Sall’s first term.

Now, a June 4 British Broadcasting Corporation’s report has awakened the ghost of this natural resource mismanagement controversy, which Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) was designed to limit by promoting transparency and accountability in oil licensing.

According to the BBC investigation, the award of the licenses to Petro-Tim and the transfer same to Timis Corporation and subsequent events exhibited at least three red flags, common in Nigeria too.

Unqualified company: Petro-Tim had no exploration experience and was incorporated up a few weeks after the contract was signed, according to the investigation.

Company payments to a politically exposed person: Timis Corporation employed the president’s brother and paid him $25,000 per month.

The BBC also reported a secretive payment from Timis Corporation to an offshore company owned by the president’s brother, though the company and the brother deny the payment ever existed. The BBC alleged that Timis in 2014 secretly paid $250,000 to a company run by Aliou Sall called Agritrans, based on a trove of documents it reviewed.

It said Timis also paid Aliou Sall $1.5 million in salary over five years for his work in Petro-Tim, the company that was originally given the blocks before Timis Corporation, and that he was also offered $3 million in shares in Timis companies.

Asset flipping: the winning company, Timis Corporation, sold the block for a large profit having made limited … Read More...