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BREAKING NEWS: Agbakoba Sues Buhari For Being Petroleum Minister |The Republican News

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President Buhari, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN)

By Uche Usim,  Abuja 

Foremost Maritime lawyer and former President, Nigerian Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba has filed a claim at the Federal High Court, Abuja against the Federal Government of Nigeria via the Attorney General of the Federation, to determine the constitutional qualification of the President of Nigeria to also hold executive office as Minister of Petroleum Resources.

Agbakoba, according to a statement released by his Chambers, argues that on the basis of section 138 of the Constitution disqualifying the President of Nigeria from taking any paid employment or holding the executive office of Minister of Petroleum Resources, the President cannot hold office as Minister of Petroleum Resources.

His other argument is that in any event, the President’s appointment as Minister of Petroleum Resources was not confirmed by the Senate of the National Assembly, as stipulated by section 147(2)of the constitution.

The affidavit supporting Agbakoba’s claim states the determination of the questions in the claim is of vital national importance, in view of the governance chaos at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

He has requested the court to return answers that the President is not validly qualified to be Minister of Petroleum Resources and in any event, the President is also disqualified to be Minister of Petroleum Resources, not having been confirmed by Senate.

No date has been fixed for the hearing.  (The Sun)

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I Did Not Approve NNPC Contracts But Loans, Says Osinbajo |Th Republican News

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Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo

• Kachikwu: Issues raised in memo were not on fraud but governance

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo Thursday broke his silence on the notion that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the financing loans for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) when the president was receiving treatment in the United Kingdom and had handed over power to him as acting president, stating that he (Osinbajo) indeed gave approval to the joint venture financing loans in accordance with laid down procedure, but he did not approve contracts.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, had in a memo to Buhari, accused the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, of awarding contracts to the tune of $25 billion and making senior executive appointments in the corporation without due process and recourse to the board of NNPC which Kachikwu chairs.
However, in its response to the memo, NNPC had said all contract awards had followed due process and were approved by Buhari.
In its response, which was sanctioned by the president, NNPC went further to list contracts and joint venture financing loans approved by Buhari and provided the dates of approval.
But the dates provided in the response by NNPC on when the so-called contracts/joint venture loans were approved raised a red flag when it was pointed out by online new medium Premium Times that they coincided with the absence of Buhari who was away in the UK on health grounds and had constitutionally handed over to his deputy, Osinbajo.
When the red flag was raised, NNPC spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, rushed to clarify that the said financing loans approved for Shell and Chevron under the joint venture contracts at $1billion and $780 million respectively, were approved by Osinbajo in his capacity as acting president.
However, Osinbajo’s office initially kept mum on the controversy until Thursday when the vice-president’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, stated that Osinbajo approved the loans “after due diligence” had been complied with and in accordance with laid down rules and regulations.
Akande, in a series of tweets on his Twitter, handle @Akandeoj, said the approval Osinbajo gave was necessary as a measure to address the huge backlog of unpaid cash calls in NNPC.
According to the tweets, the huge backlog of unpaid cash calls was inherited by the current administration and the approval was meant to stimulate the required investments in oil and gas sector.
“In response to media inquiries on NNPC joint venture financing, VP Osinbajo as Ag. President approved recommendations after due diligence and adherence to established procedure.
“Action was necessary to deal with a huge backlog of unpaid cash calls which the Buhari administration inherited and also incentivise much needed fresh investments in oil and gas sector,” Akande tweeted.
Also, yet another statement from Akande last night, added: “Our attention has been drawn to some misleading reports suggesting that the vice-president approved certain procurement contracts for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“This is totally false, as the approvals referred to were actually for financing arrangements in replacement of the traditional joint venture cash call obligations.
“In the statement of NNPC recently released in response to allegations made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, reference was made to various financing arrangements with NNPC’s joint venture partners, which were approved by the presidency under the current administration.
“There were three such loan financing arrangements made for: (i) NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture Project; (ii) NNPC/Chevron Accelerated Upstream Production Project; (iii) NNPC/Shell/Total/Agip Joint Venture Accelerated Upstream Production Project.
“While the first was approved by the president in person, the second and third were approved by the vice-president as acting president.
“The NNPC Act, Cap. N. 123, Laws of the Federation, (updated to 2010), authorises the corporation to borrow such sums as it may require in the exercise of its functions.
“Subsection (2) goes further to specify the only precondition: ‘The Corporation shall not, without the approval of the President, borrow any sum of money whereby the amount in aggregate outstanding on any loan or loans at any time exceeds such amounts as is for the time being specified by the President.’
“Furthermore, subsection (4) provides that ‘Where any sum required aforesaid – a. is to be in a currency other than Naira; and b. is to be borrowed by the Corporation otherwise than temporarily, the Corporation shall not borrow the sum without the prior approval of the President’.
“These financings are purely commercial loans obtained by NNPC and its joint venture partners, mainly from local and foreign banks, to perform their exploration and production activities.
“Repayments are also made out of revenues from the crude oil produced directly by the funded project. Unfortunately, they are being confused with contracts for goods and services.
“The alternative financing arrangements became necessary as the inability of the government to meet its cash call obligations had stalled further investments in the petroleum sector and reduced the country’s production capacity.”
Also, while answering questions from reporters after the ground-breaking of the multi-billion naira Bonny-Bodo road project in Bonny, Rivers State Thursday, the vice-president went into the semantics of the loans he approved by differentiating them from contracts, when he explained that the approvals he granted to the NNPC while he was acting president were for financing arrangements for the joint ventures between the corporation and international oil companies (IOCs), and not approvals for contracts.
He said: “These were financing loans. Of course, you know what the joint ventures are, with the lOCs like Chevron that has to procure.
“In some cases, NNPC and their joint venture partners have to secure loans and they needed the authorization to secure those loans while the president was away.
“The law actually provides for those authorizations. So I did grant two of them and those were presidential approvals, but they are specifically for financing joint ventures and they are loans, not contracts.”
Meanwhile, Kachikwu, who started the entire storm that has snowballed into who between the president and his deputy actually approved the loans for NNPC, has stated that his memo to Buhari did not border on fraud but on governance and on the best ways to move the oil and gas sector forward in the country.
He also expressed deep confidence in the president as a thorough, clean and meticulous leader whose interest is to better a lot of Nigerians.
Kachikwu, who stated this in Owerri, the Imo State capital while speaking on the third day of Nigerian content workshop organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), decried the misrepresentation by some Nigerians on the issues raised in his memo, stressing that no one was accused of committing fraud in the NNPC contract awards.
“The conversation has been largely misunderstood to border on fraud. It was not on fraud, but on governance and suggested ways to go about it. I think a lot of people got it wrong.
“People dwell much on issues of sensationalism and leave the main substance. I think I and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr Maikanti Baru are working together as Mr President has directed that we move forward,” he said.
According to the minister, “Mr President has urged the two of us to find ways of working together to remove doubt and rift. Mr President is a decent man and what he wants to achieve in this country is to leave a legacy for posterity.
“He is a sincere leader, so nobody should accuse him of engaging in fraud.”
He commended the management of NCDMB headed by its executive secretary, Mr Simbi Wakote, for promoting and enforcing Nigerian content in the oil and gas sector.
“NCDMB is blessed in terms of the quality of personnel in that parastatal. They have done well in ensuring that things move well in his area. Simbi has made the institution stronger and I congratulate you and your folks,” he said.
Kachikwu, however, observed that not much local content had been engaged in offshore oil and gas operations and enjoined the NCDMB to move in that direction.
He announced that by next year, the facilities in Port Harcourt and Kaduna would be available to train unskilled Nigerians to acquire skills in the oil and gas sector, adding that the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) and the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) would be responsible for the programme. (Thisday)

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BOMBSHELL: Another $4.2bn Missing In NNPC Under Buhari, Says US Governance Institute Report |RN

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President Muhammadu Buhari

The report by the Natural Resource Governance Institute, titled “NNPC still holds blank check” said that within the first six months of the Buhari administration, the NNPC withheld over $4.2 billion (about N824.7 billion) out of a total of $6.3 billion (N1.24 trillion) revenues realised from crude oil sales in the second half of 2015.

The withheld revenues represented about 66 percent of the total revenue – $1.4 billion earnings from Nigeria’s regular crude oil exports for the period; $3.4 billion from domestic crude oil sales, and $1.5 billion from oil sold from the corporation’s upstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC oil fields.
The report said only $2.1 billion (about N413.7 billion) was transferred to the Federation Account.

The group said the unremitted revenues for the six months was about 14 percent more than the amount withheld by the corporation under the Goodluck Jonathan administration in the first half of 2015, and about 12 percent higher than the share withheld in 2013 and 2014.

The report said the figure of unremitted oil revenues in 2015 contrasted sharply with 2005 figures, which showed the NNPC remitted about 68 percent of its total oil sale earnings to the Federation Account and kept only 32 percent that year.

The report said while part of the withheld funds was used for servicing Nigeria’s share of the joint venture operating obligations, the NNPC did not fully explain what the other retained revenues from domestic crude and NPDC oil sales were used for.

In general, the report said despite the on-going reforms in the oil sector, the NNPC under the present administration was still retaining a major share of oil sale earnings and spending at will.

Some of the reforms by the Buhari government, the report noted, have cut the number of passive, well-connected middlemen that pocketed billions of oil revenues, while the administration has cancelled costly, unbalanced NNPC swap contracts as well as seek more efficient replacements.

The report lamented that recent announcements on NNPC reforms and the latest drafts of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, failed to adequately address how NNPC and the government would share future oil revenues
“Until government establishes a clear, legally enforceable rule governing which revenues NNPC can keep and how they can be spent, oil sector corruption and waste could return to their prior devastating levels once the president (Buhari) leaves or prices rise,” the report noted.

While encouraging the government to push ahead with its reform plans for the oil sector, NRGI stressed the need for NNPC to adopt new financial controls and transparency measures for its subsidiaries, especially bordering on the several billion revenues retained each year from NPDC operations and its oil trading and marketing subsidiaries.

The Institute also called for the immediate replacement of the 445,000 barrels per day crude oil allocation for domestic refining with a fit-for-purpose mechanism for supplies to the country’s four refineries. (Hope for Nigeria)

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Kachikwu/Baru Feud: I Approved NNPC Contracts, Says Osinbajo |The Republican News

 

 

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Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo

 

From: Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has admitted to approving contracts for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which had become contentious between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu and the NNPC Group Managing Director (GMD), Maikanti Baru.

Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, in a series of tweets on his twitter handle @akandeoj, on Thursday, confirmed that the contracts were approved after due diligence by the Vice President when he acted as President, recently.

Akande said Osinbajo approved the recommendations for the contracts as part of necessary actions to deal with the backlog of unpaid cash calls and incentivise investments.

He said Osinbajo made the clarification in view of media enquiries that followed NNPC’s claim that the contracts were indeed approved by Osinbajo.

The tweets stated: “In response to media inquiries on NNPC joint venture financing, VP Osinbajo, as Ag President approved recommendations after due diligence & adherence to established procedure. Action necessary to deal with a huge backlog of unpaid cash calls which Buhari administration inherited and also to incentivise much needed fresh investments in the oil & gas sector.”

Kachikwu’s letter to the President in which he alleged gross insubordination by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) Maikanti Baru, was leaked to the media last week.

He had alleged that Baru using the NNPC awarded $25 billion contracts without following due process.

He had also alleged that the $25 billion contract was struck without consulting the office of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources or the board of the corporation.

Baru has earlier in the week responded to Kachikwu’s allegations of lack of adherence to due process in the award of NNPC contracts.

He had said in a statement that the allegations were baseless and due process was followed in all of its activities.

On the allegations by the minister that major contracts were never reviewed or discussed by the NNPC Board, Baru said that the law and the rules do not require a review or discussion with the Minister of State or the NNPC Board on contractual matters.

“What is required is the processing and approval of contracts by the NNPC Tenders Board, the President in his executive capacity or as Minister of Petroleum, or the Federal Executive Council (FEC), as the case may be.

“There are therefore situations where all that is required is the approval of the NNPC Tenders Board while, in other cases, based on the threshold, the award must be submitted for presidential approval. Likewise, in some instances, it is FEC approval that is required,” the statement said.

It stated further: “It should be noted that for both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreements, there are no specific values attached to each transaction to warrant the values of $10 billion and $5 billion respectively placed on them in the claim of Dr Kachikwu.

“It is therefore inappropriate to attach arbitrary values to the shortlists with the aim of classifying the transactions as contracts above NNPC Tenders Board limit. They are merely the short-listing of prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum products under agreed terms.

“These transactions were not required to be presented as contracts to the Board of NNPC and, of course, the monetary value of any crude oil eventually lifted by any of the companies goes straight into the federation account and not to the company.”

NNPC said Kachikwu was expressly consulted by the GMD and his recommendations were taken contrary to the assertion that he was never involved in the 2017/2018 contracting process for the crude oil. (The Sun)

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Kachikwu Allegations: Don’t Sweep Issues Under The Carpet, APDA Tells Buhari |RN

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From: Okwe Obi, Abuja

The Advanced People’s Democratic Alliance (APDA) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to sweep the allegations made by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, against the Group Managing

Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikati Baru, under the carpet.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Sun, on Wednesday, in Abuja, Publicity

Secretary of the party, Tosin Adeyanju, said it would be just wrong if the president allowed the matter to slid.

Adeyanju added that an independent investigative body should be set up to unravel the allegations and unravel the truth or otherwise behind them.

“We can’t turn a blind eye to this matter. APDA as a party loathes corruption. As such, the president should ensure that such a matter should not be treated with kid gloves,” he added.

Recall that Kachikwu, in a letter dated August 30, 2017, to President Buhari accused the GMD of NNPC, Baru of lack of adherence to due process in the award of NNPC contracts.

He had said the Crude Term contracts valued at over $5 billion and DSDP contracts valued at over $5 billion were never reviewed or discussed with him as NNPC Board Chairman.

He said that other contracts handled that way include the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano pipeline valued at approximately $3 billion. Adeyanju further added that there might be other serious issues begging to be revealed that Nigerians do not know about.

“There is no smoke without fire. What we have seen might just be a tip of the iceberg. If we take this matter seriously do not be surprising that other grievous issues of national importance would surface,” he added.  (The Sun)

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NNPC To Kachikwu: You Lied, Ministry, Board Not Needed For Contract Review |RN

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NNPC GMD, Dr Maikanti Baru and Minister Of State Petroleum, Dr Ibe E. Kachikwu

From Uche Usim, Abuja

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has faulted the weighty allegations of the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu against the Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru.

The reaction was a direct response to a directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to Baru to reply the allegations of shoddy practices and insubordination

NNPC gave the response Monday morning in a press meeting.

It insisted it had not erred in any way with regards to procedures in awarding its multi-million dollar contracts.

A statement signed by its Spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu said the input of the NNPC Board or the Ministry is not required before certain contracts are awarded and executed.

“It is important to note from the outset that the law and the rules do not require a review or discussion with the Minister of State or the NNPC Board on contractual matters.

“What is required is the processing and approval of contracts by the NNPC Tenders Board, the president in his executive capacity or as Minister of Petroleum, or the Federal Executive Council (FEC), as the case may be.

“There are therefore situations where all that is required is the approval of the NNPC Tenders Board while, in other cases, based on the threshold, the award must be submitted for presidential approval. Likewise, in some instances, it is FEC approval that is required.”

It continued: “It should be noted that for both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreements, there are no specific values attached to each transaction to warrant the values of $10billion and $5billion respectively placed on them in the claim of Dr Kachikwu. It is therefore inappropriate to attach arbitrary values to the shortlists with the aim of classifying the transactions as contracts above NNPC Tenders Board limit. They are merely the shortlisting of prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum products under agreed terms. These transactions were not required to be presented as contracts to the Board of NNPC and, of course, the monetary value of any crude oil eventually lifted by any of the companies goes straight into the federation account and not to the company”, the statement read.

Furthermore, the NNPC management said contrary to the assertion of Kachikwu that he was never involved in the 2017/2018 contracting process for the Crude Oil Term Contracts, “Kachikwu was, in fact, expressly consulted by the GMD and his recommendations were taken into account in following the laid down procedure.

“Thus, for him to turn around and claim that “…these major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with me…” is most unfortunate, to say the least”, it added.

Reacting the specific allegations of Kachikwu beginning with the Crude Oil Term Contract (COTC)- valued at over $10bn, the NNPC management said the COTC is not a contract for procurement of goods, works or services.

“Rather it is simply a list of approved off-takers of Nigerian crude oil of all grades. This list does not carry any value, but simply state the terms and conditions for the lifting. It is therefore inappropriate to attach a value to it with the aim of classifying it as contract above Management limit.

In arriving at the off-takers list for 2017/2018 COTC, the following steps were followed: adverts were placed in national and international print media on Monday, 17th October 2016, the bids were publicly opened in the presence of all stakeholders (NIETI, DPR, BPP, Civil Society Organisations, NNPC SCM Division and the press as well as live broadcasts by the NTA and other TV stations) and detailed evaluation was carried out and the short list of the successful off-takers was presented to the approving authority (Mr President) for consideration and approval”.

On the Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) contract valued at over $5bn, the corporation said:

“Like the COTC, the DSDP is not a contract for any procurement of goods, works or services, rather it is simply a list of off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum products of equivalent value. This list does not carry any value, but simply state the terms and conditions for the lifting and supply of petroleum products. It is therefore mischievous to classify it as contract and attach a value to it that is above Management’s limit.

On the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Contract, the NNPC said the AKK Gas pipeline project remains a contractor financed contract.

“The process adopted for this contract is as follows: Approval of project proposal and contracting strategy was given by NTB; placement of adverts for expression of interest in some National and International print media and NNPC’s website; expression of interest for pre-qualification received and evaluated. Technical and Commercial tenders issued and evaluated. NTB considered and endorsed tender evaluation result for FEC approval since this contract is above NTB’s threshold subject to obtaining the following certificates of no objections: BPP certificate of no objection (obtained). Certificate of no objection from Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) (obtained). Certificate of no objection from Nigerian Content Monitoring & Development Board (NCMDB) (being awaited)

BPP and ICRC certificates have been obtained, while that of NCDMB is being awaited after which the contract will be presented to FEC for consideration and approval”, it said.

The NNPC said its contracting process is governed by provisions of the NNPC Act, the Public Procurement Act, 2007 (PPA), Procurement method and thresholds of application and the composition of Tenders Board as provided by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Circular reference no. SGF/OP/1/S.3/VIII/57, dated 11th March 2009; NNPC Delegation of Authority Guide; Supply Chain Management Policy & Procedure documents and the NNPC Ethics Guide.

With regards, to the approving authority for contracts, the Corporation quoted the SGF Circular (iii above) on procurement threshold provided the following authority limits for NNPC transactions as well as the composition of the NNPC Tenders Board.

The statement further disclosed it secured the nod of the approving authority of the Bureau for Public Procurement, secured the “No objection award” certificate and FEC for any of its special works which are N2.7 billion or $20 million.

“NNPC had cause to clarify severally from Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) as to the composition of NNPC Tenders Board and the role of NNPC Board appointed by Government.

“The BPP expressly clarified that NNPC Tenders Board (NTB) is not the same as NNPC Board. The governing board (NNPC Board) is responsible for approval of work programmes, corporate plans and budgets, while the NTB is responsible for approval of day-to-day procurement implementation.

“BPP referred to the SGF circular for the composition of the NTB to compose of the Accounting Officer (GMD NNPC) as the Chairman, with Heads of Department (GEDs) as members with the Head of procurement (GGM SCM) serving as the Secretary of the NNPC Tenders Board.

“The above clarifications of the provisions of the procurement process show that approvals reside within the NTB and where thresholds are exceeded, the NNPC refers to FEC for approval. Therefore, the NNPC Board has no role in contracts approval process as advised by BPP”.

“As can be seen, all these clarifications were sought and obtained prior to August 2015 and were implemented by Dr Kachikwu as the GMD of NNPC. Dr Kachikwu also constituted the first NNPC Tenders Board on 8th September 2015 and continued to chair it until his exit in June 2016”, the statement added.

Ughamadu said the typical NNPC contracting process Involves approval of project proposal and contracting strategy by NTB, placement of adverts for expression of interest in electronic and print media, soliciting for tender (Technical and Commercial), Tender evaluation,, Tender approval by NTB for contracts within its threshold; otherwise obtain BPP certificate of no objection before presentation to FEC and present to FEC for approval.

Recall that Kachikwu in a leaked memo to Buhari accused Baru of insubordination and non-transparent dealings with regards to contract award.

Key allegations of Kachikwu include the award of $10billion crude term contracts; $5billion direct sales direct purchase contracts; $3billion AKK pipeline contract; financing allocation funding contracts worth $3billion and NPDC production service contract of $4billion.

In all, these contracts worth $25billion were awarded in breach of legal and procurement requirements and the NNPC Board was never involved.

Again, key management positions were filled without the input of the NNPC Board. If the “legal and procedural requirement is that all contracts above $20m would need to be reviewed and approved by the board of NNPC and in over one year of Mr Baru’s tenure, no contract has been run through the board,” Kachikwu said in his petition to Buhari. (The Sun)

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Nigerian Senate Probe 40 Oil Firms As Kachikwu, Baru Crisis Deepens |RN

 

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Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe E. Kachikwu and NNPC General Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru

Over 40 oil firms are expected to be invited by the Senate adhoc committee set up to investigate the allegations in the feud between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru.
Kachikwu in a leaked memo to President Muhammadu Buhari had alleged that against the rules, Baru awarded major contracts worth $25bn without reviewing or discussing them with him or the NNPC board.
“The legal and procedural requirements are that all contracts above $20m would need to be reviewed and approved by the board of NNPC. Mr. President, in over one year of Mr Baru’s tenure, no contract has been run through the board.
‘‘As in many cases of things that happen in NNPC these days, I learn of transactions only through publications in the media,’’ Kachikwu wrote.
One of our correspondents gathered that the Senate, which had earlier stated that it would probe the allegations, decided to invite over 40 companies which received the following contracts: Crude Term contracts — valued over $10bn; the Direct Sale of Crude Oil and Direct Purchase of Petroleum Product (DSDP contract) valued over $5bn; the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline contract valued at $3bn; allocation of funding contracts of national oil companies valued over $3bn and NPDC production service contracts valued between $3bn and $4bn.
Two senators who did not want their names in print confirmed this to one of our correspondents.
Associates of both men within the government appeared to be reluctant to speak on record because of Buharis’s intervention in the raging feud.

 

One of them who is a director in the NNPC, while speaking to SUNDAY PUNCH, alleged that Baru had been warned several times against sidelining the apex body of the corporation.
According to him, in one of such instances, Baru was accused of making appointments into the NNPC without the approval of the board.
The director said during the 124th session of the NNPC Board meeting, Baru was allegedly criticised for appointing the Managing Director of NNPC Retail without informing the board. Members of the board complained that they learnt of the appointment in the media.
He said, “Kachikwu, pleaded with the board that the appointment of the MD of NNPC Retail Limited without recourse to the board should be treated as part of a learning curve and stated that going forward, management should present to the board a number of candidates that should be considered for such appointments for board evaluation before making appointments.”
The director also claimed that Baru was criticised at a separate meeting for attempting to submit the budget of the NNPC directly to Buhari without the input of Kachikwu or the board. He also re-echoed the complaints in Kachikwu’s leaked memo that Baru had been approving contracts through the NNPC Tenders Board and taking documents directly to Buhari under the pretext that Buhari is the substantive minister of petroleum.
The NNPC director further told one of our correspondents that NNPC and Schlumberger in June signed a tripartite agreement for the development of the Anyala and Madu fields under oil mining leases OMLs 83 and 85, offshore Bayelsa State worth over $700m.
He said it was not until Schlumberger released a statement to the media that the board heard about the contract
According to him, following Baru’s alleged circumvention of the board in the award of contracts, the Finance and General Purpose Committee of the NNPC board and the NNPC management sought legal opinion from external experts.
“Since the National Council on Public Procurement had not been appointed by the President, the Bureau of Public Procurement’s manual regarding the composition of the NNPC Tenders Board is merely advisory and not law.”
“In essence, the NNPC board, as the apex authority, with its fiduciary relationship with the corporation and the onerous liability exposure that it has, is not prohibited from approving contracts by the Public Procurement Act,” he added.
Meanwhile, sources close to the NNPC GMD told SUNDAY PUNCH that the Act establishing the NNPC stipulates that the chairman of the corporation’s board is the Minister of Petroleum Resources and not the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.
President Muhammadu Buhari is Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources while Kachikwu is the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources. However, Buhari had named Kachikwu the chairman of the NNPC board.
According to them, Baru did no wrong by reporting to the President on issues of the oil firm, as he was only obeying the NNPC Act.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source who is highly-placed in the corporation said, “The NNPC Act does not recognise a minister of state. The act is explicit that the petroleum minister is the chairman of the NNPC board.”
When asked if Buhari was not aware of the NNPC Act before announcing a chairman for the corporation’s board, the source replied, “These were some of the issues raised at the meetings the President is holding.
“The NNPC GMD reports to the corporation board chairman, who of course, is the President. He (Baru) goes to the chairman because that is what the Act says.” (Punch)

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