By Patience Danjuma
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has reported the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to take urgent actions on matters ranging from corruption to insubordination.
Kachikwu said he found it pertinent to call the attention of the president to Baru’s misgivings because they are capable of hindering progress in the country’s petroleum sector or even reverse recorded strides.
On the allegation of corruption in Baru’s NNPC, Kachikwu said, “The legal and procedural requirements is that all contracts above $20m would need to be reviewed and approved by the Board of NNPC. Mr. President, in over one year of Dr. Baru’s tenure, no contract has been run through the Board. This is despite my diplomatic encouragement to Dr. Baru to do so to avoid wrongfully painting you as a President who does not allow Due Process to thrive in NNPC.
“Given the history of malpractices and the public perception of NNPC as having a history of non-transparency, the NNPC Tenders Board (NTB) cannot be the final clearance authority for contracts it enters into.
“The NTB, which is a collection of top level NNPC executives and COOs with the GMD as Chairman, cannot continue to be the final approval authority for multi-million dollar contracts and transactions involving NNPC to the exclusion of the Board. Board members have singularly and collectively raised these issues to no avail.”
The Minister listed contracts awarded by the NNPC GMD without following due process to include the crude term contracts worth over $10 billion; the DSDP contracts worth over $5 billion; the AKK pipeline contract worth approximately $3 billion; various financing allocation funding contracts with NOCs worth over $3 billion; and various NPDC production service contracts valued at more than $4 billion.
“There are many more Your Excellency. In most of these activities the explanation of the GMD is that you are the Minister of Petroleum and your approvals were obtained.
“However, the correct governance should be that the Minister of State and the Board review the transaction and give their concurrence prior to presentation to you.
“As in many cases of things that happen in NNPC these days. I learn of transactions only through publications in the media. The questions is why is it that other parastatals which I supervise as Minister of State or Chair of their Boards are able to go through these contractual and mandatory governance processes and yet NNPC is exempt from these?” Kachikwu queried in the letter to the President.
He further stated that “Parastatals in the ministry and all CEOs of these parastatals must be aligned with the policy drive of the ministry to allow the sector register the growth that has eluded it for many years.
“To do otherwise or to exempt any of the parastatals would be to emplace a stunted growth for the industry.”
The Minister said he wrote the August 30 letter to President Buhari after concerted efforts to have a one-on-one appointment with the President at the State House failed to yield result.
The letter, which emerged on the Internet on Tuesday, was widely circulated on Twitter. It is not immediately clear how it made it to the public domain.
The minister said he suffered “disrespectful and humiliating conducts” from Baru.
The minister urged the President to order the NNPC GMD to make adjustments on five issues that range from strict deference to the NNPC Board of Directors, which Kachikwu chairs and unfettered collaboration among all agencies in the petroleum sector.
Read the letter in full below:
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