NNPC GMD Baru finally responds to allegations made by Kachikwu. It's quite some read.
That memo was leaked last week.
In it, Kachikwu accused Baru of humiliating and disrespecting him; and not following due process in the award of contracts at the NNPC.
Kachikwu also accused Baru of complicity in the disappearance of some $25B (N9TR) in crude oil earnings.
We waited all of last week for Baru to respond. Let’s just say we waited in vain.
However, President Buhari separately met both men last week and issued a directive to Baru to respond to the allegations levelled by his 'junior' Minister.
The NNPC has just issued a response through its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu.
We reproduce seven talking points from that press statement below.
Look away now, Kachikwu:
After the memo was leaked to the press, Baru declined comments wherever he showed up.
However, in responding now, he makes it clear he’s only doing so because the president required a response from him.
Here’s the opening paragraph from the statement that makes that clear:
“Following the publication of alleged lack of adherence to due process in the award of NNPC contracts, the President ordered the Group Managing Director (GMD) and Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to consider and respond expeditiously to the allegations”.
One of Kachikwu’s allegations against Baru was that the NNPC GMD awarded contracts without carrying him along.
Baru says the law doesn’t say Kachikwu has to be carried along.
“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”.
Implication of what you just read: As long as Buhari, who is Minister of Petroleum, has been informed, the show can go on. Kachikwu should consider himself lucky if he's even informed.
Sorry, Kach, but that’s exactly what Baru is saying.
According to this statement, Kachikwu was throwing figures for contracts that hadn’t even been awarded.
“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”.
Here’s from the statement: “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”.
Not our words. Read this:
“Furthermore, contrary to the assertion of Dr. Kachikwu that he was never involved in the 2017/2018 contracting process for the Crude Oil Term Contracts, Dr. Kachikwu was in fact expressly consulted by the GMD and his recommendations were taken into account in following through 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”.
Hear the man:
“From the foregoing, the allegations were baseless and due process has been followed in the various activities”.
Again, we return to the statement as we close this:
“The NPDC production service contracts have undergone due process, while the AKK (Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano) contract that requires FEC approval has not reached the stage of contract award”.
In other words, ‘what’s Kachikwu even bitching about?’
“It is therefore mischievous to classify Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) Contract- valued at over $5bn as contract and attach a value to it that is above Management’s limit”.
Messy fight this? You bet!