BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – Chairman of Ocean Marine Solution (OMS) Captain Hosa Okunbo has restated that he never had any business dealings with the former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke.
Captain Okunbo, who restated this while reacting to insinuations in the media about his alleged business dealings with the former minister, especially in respect of the controversial offshore processing agreements (OPAs) popularly known as oil swap involving the former minister and her cronies, expressed concerned that some online media outfits keep concocting names of prominent Nigerians purportedly involved in the deal and adding his name.
The chairman of OMS, an offshore asset protection company, rendering services to major oil companies in Nigeria, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), noted that in spite of his several rebuttals, his name keeps coming up in a case he said he had no hand in whatsoever.
Diezani has been under investigations since the outset of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in 2015 as the US Department of Justice listed her and two other businessmen as persons of interest in a civil complaint filed at a District Court in Houston, Texas.
The civil complaint detailed how the duo laundered millions of dollars on her behalf which were used in buying property in the U.S. and the UK in return for oil contracts.
There were reports that more names involved in the multi-billion dollar deal would be revealed as investigations continued.
In refuting the allegations, Captain Okunbo said; “All the co-travellers of Diezani are either in exile or in court with her. I have never written a statement in the EFCC or any anti-corruption agency to date.
“If, indeed, I was with Dieziani, will I still be doing business in the NNPC where I am a champion for service delivery?”
The billionaire businessman traced the root of the misinformation to a report published by an online news medium in 2015, to which he said he similarly issued a strongly-worded rebuttal.
In his words; “I had believed that the media would end such malicious reports but sheer laziness and unprofessionalism on the side of some bloggers have sustained the misrepresentation of the contract that formed the basis for the first publication.
“The falsehood is being assisted with the ubiquity and freedom of social media and that it had become increasingly clear that maintaining silence further would be misconstrued for consent.
“I state categorically that neither any of my business entities nor myself had ever been engaged in any deal requiring lifting the tiniest drop of oil, crude or refined. I am not a trader; I have never submitted nor participated in any ‘Oil Swap’ deal, neither do I own a company trading in any petroleum products.
“In my over four decades in business, spanning engineering and technology, energy, integrated service in the petroleum sector, maritime, security, agriculture and others, integrity has been my guiding principle and a core value with which I have been able to earn trust and confidence of companies and corporations of global repute.
“I have never stood before any administrative, judicial or legislative panels to answer any questions related to any shady deal.
“I have conducted my businesses with utmost openness, honesty and integrity. I am not oblivious of the fact that not a few people look up to me as a role model; the least I can do is to exhibit exemplary leadership quality to this group of young Nigerians, many of whom interact with me on a regular basis.”
Capt. Okunbo therefore challenged anyone, whether in the NNPC, the media or anywhere else, to come forward with any evidence that could puncture his assertions.
He declared; “I implore cowards and mischief makers who are quick to broadcast unverified Whatsapp messages and the Nigerian media to be thorough, fair and objective in their journalistic responsibility”.
He said that he remains a globally-certified Ambassador of Peace who has been decorated at home and abroad as a “Citizen of Humanity.”
He noted that through his businesses, which have added immeasurable value to the Nigerian economy and philanthropy, he makes history every hour and industriously adds page after page, volume after volume, as if nature were holding up a monument to his exploits.
Okunbo said that he remains one of the few blessed men who started from the scratch, kept their nose to the grindstone and turned seemingly insignificant ideas into behemoth industries.
He further said; “Capt Okunbo is a man that would be sent to Mars and still treat it as a stepping stone to Saturn – the quality of constant invention and self-improvement that has earned him worldwide acclaim and prosperity”.
He said that he exudes the lustre of the proverbial leading light, thus distinguishing his persona amid a range of middling men that radiates compassion, ardour and acclaim that no life’s odd could tame.
The statement further states; “Having hacked his path to affluence in honest, industrious strides, he spreads out like a bastion of human aspiration even as his exploits become objects of the world affection.
“Everywhere he navigates, he exudes a spirit of humaneness and generosity that even the world’s finest and most daring philanthropists live in awe of.
“He was, in 2019, bestowed with the prestigious Order of Lafayette award at the United Nations day for Global Peace.
“The Order of Lafayette is a patriotic, hereditary, nonpartisan, and fraternal organisation established in New York City in 1958 by Colonel Hamilton Fish III (1888-1991), a former Congressman from New York and decorated veteran of the First World War.
“Captain Okunbo was especially honoured for his distinguished role in encouraging, engendering and entrenching peace and harmony in Africa and the world at large.
“He was presented with his award by His Excellency, Robert Blum, chairman of the Order of Lafayette Awards.
“Present at the auspicious and exclusive awards presentation were diplomats and political and economic leaders from all over the world who had all come to celebrate with one of their own,” the statement states.