The reason the U.S. Government is investigating Offor is for a company he acquired-the Environmental Remediation Holding Corporation (ERHC); it was registered in 1986 by some Americans in Colorado. Chrome Energy, LLC (registered in Houston, TX) owns about 51.1% of ERHC. There are many allegations swirling around Offor’s involvement with this company. There have been claims by some foreign organizations that Offor’s shares in this company were donated to him as a way of enticing Nigeria into a deal with Sao Tome and Principe. Another report speculates that Offor’s shares may actually belong to the Vice-President. As stated earlier, the Vice-President denies any business involvement with Offor.
Another allegation is that the Federal Government of Nigeria arm-twisted the original owners of ERHC and Sao Tome into giving Offor the controlling shares in the company. One thing is certain: Offor’s ownership of ERHC makes him the number one player in the emerging oil industry of Sao Tome and Principe. The Offor-ERHC-Obasanjo deal was said to have incensed U.S. oil giant, ExxonMobil, as they were still carrying out seismic studies in Sao Tome.
According to documents in Elendureports.com’s possession, ERHC’s “sole asset is an oil and gas exploration concession in Sao Tome received pursuant to an agreement which became effective in July 2002. The company’s focus is to exploit its only asset. The agreement with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome & Principe concerns oil and gas exploration in Sao Tome, an island nation located in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of central West Africa, as well as in a joint development zone between Sao Tome and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The agreement was embodied in a consent award issued by the arbitrator as a result of the satisfaction of several conditions, including the ratification of a treaty between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome & Principe.”
The company’s statement of accounts indicates that until 2003, ERHC did not have any assets, but had a debt portfolio in the millions of dollars. How did a company that is in debt up to the tune of about thirty million dollars ($30 million) and with one staff member acquire a lucrative oil deal in Sao Tome and Principe? Why did Offor buy this company and end up paying more than seventy-five percent of the company’s debts? The company’s statement of accounts for the year ended 2004 indicate that ERHC lost about four million dollars ($4,000,000.00) during the accounting period. Why did the Federal Government of Nigeria not use the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for this deal?
Perhaps the information excerpted from the documents in our possession will shed some light on this matter, “About 4 billion barrels of crude are believed to lie beneath those waters. Without a drilling rig to its name, ERHC could reap hundreds of millions of dollars from its holdings. The company was formed and run by a number of minor U.S players and was able to pay the Sao Tomeans a small sum for the contract. The contract ran into trouble when it was realized that these prospective oil leases would have no value until an international treaty was made between Nigeria and Sao Tome, delineating the territorial boundaries between the two countries. A visit to Sao Tome by the American head of the company proved useless. The U.S. owners were persuaded by Offor that he could arrange that Nigeria set out such a treaty, using his friends Obasanjo and Atiku. The company agreed to sell its shares to Offor, while retaining a number of shares in their own name. They didn’t so much sell the shares as donated them in exchange for Offor agreeing to be liable for the debt. In mid-2001 Offor acquitted a 75% stake in EHRC. A few weeks later the Government of Nigeria and the Government of Sao Tome signed a treaty delineating their borders. Now the oil leases (which promised a 5% of the revenue stream to Chrome) now had a putative value.
This ability to start to sell the oil leases attracted other players. Obasanjo was pushing two companies for the Joint Development Zone (JDZ). These were the Nigerian branch of Norwegian PGS, headed by Otunba Onabanjo (father-in-law of Obasanjo’s second son) and Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum, run by Wahab Folawiyo (close friend of Obasanjo). Atiku was happy with Chrome as it was widely believed that he actually owned the Chrome shares and Offor was his nominee.”
Howard F. Jeter, a former ambassador, retired U.S. State Department official and friend of Pres. Obasanjo, is on the board of ERHC. Jeter also serves as an executive of Goodworks International, LLC, a lobbying firm owned by Amb. Andrew Young and Carlton Masters. Goodworks International lobbies the American Government on behalf of Nigeria.
The last coup d’etat in Sao Tome was both a diplomatic and business opportunity for President Obasanjo. The President intervened and brokered a peace deal between the coupists and the ousted Sao Tomean President. There are reports that the ousted President was accompanied from Libreville by two plane loads of military men to retake power in Sao Tome. This singular act re-established Pres. Obasanjo and Nigeria as indispensable in Sao Tome’s march to petro-wealth. Emeka Offor is reputed to have sponsored Pres. Meneze’s for the Sao Tomean presidential election in 2001.
Elendureports.com contacted ERHC at their Texas office. We were informed by a receptionist, who gave her name as Jane, that Emeka Offor did not maintain an office there. She refused to give us information as to how to contact Emeka Offor. She refused to answer more questions and abruptly hung up the phone. The Securities and Exchange Commission refused to confirm or deny that ERHC is under investigation.
Emeka Offor’s deals have astounded many investigators as he seems to operate in almost all of Nigeria’s economic nerve centers. It is widely believed that Chris Uba, the self-acclaimed political godfather of Anambra State, is playing from Offor’s playbook. Their influence on the Obasanjo Administration makes them members of the elite class of ‘sacred cows’ in Nigeria today.