The Presidency has denied claims by Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu that the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru unilaterally approved $25 billion worth of contracts in a leaked memo.
In a press release posted on its Facebook page, the Presidency denied the rumours. It also reiterated the claims made by the NNPC that the crude term contract and the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase Agreements were not contracts for purchase for goods, a misconception that is prevalent in a cross-section of the media.
Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media, Laolu Akande also restated earlier explanations made that Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo had not approved N640 billion worth of contracts for the corporation, but Joint Venture cash call financing.
“For the sake of emphasis let me state clearly that both the crude term contract and the direct sale and direct purchase agreements are not contracts for any procurement of goods, works or services, and therefore do not involve the use of public funds. Instead, they are simply a shortlisting of off-takers.”
He said unlike what has been reported in the media so far, it is important to set the records straight that the list of approved off-takers does not carry any financial values but simply states the terms and conditions for the lifting and supply of petroleum products.”
With the statements from the NNPC and the Presidency, it appears that the government and the NNPC seems to be focusing on the allegations surrounding the award of contracts only. However, from the letter written to the President by kachikwu, the major crux of his grievance with Baru is an apparent allegation of an abuse of authority by the NNPC GMD.
This according to Kachikwu allows the NNPC to by-pass procedures and oversights which it is supposed to be subjected to by the Minister of State. The NNPC is also alleged to be fond of ignoring the Department of Petroleum Resources, the industry regulator, preferring to take decisions on its own volition.
Mr. Kachikwu also suggested that the NNPC GMD had no respect for his office. These are all salient issues which the government has refused to address in its press releases.
According to findings by National Daily, the core issues raised in the leaked memo is being swept under the carpet, with only one aspect being discussed. As it is, Dr. Kachikwu has been left stranded as the shoddy manner with which the issues were handled has not helped matters.