In a series of tweets from its official twitter handle, the Presidency shed more light on the approvals made by Vice President Osinbanjo while he acted as President. According to the Presidency, the approvals given were not for contracts but for financing arrangements. Osinbanjo, while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the ground breaking of the Bonny Road project, said the JV financing approvals were for two companies (one of which was Chevron).
These were financing loans. Of course, you know what the Joint Ventures are, with the lOCs, like Chevron, that had to procure. In some cases, NNPC and their Joint Venture partners have to secure loans and they need authorisation to secure those loans while the President was away. The law actually provides for those authorisations. 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.
Earlier media reports released today had erroneously stated that Vice President Osinbanjo had approved $630 billion contracts for the NNPC.
The Saga so far
In a memo written to President Muhammadu Buhari which leaked last week, Kachikwu accused the GMD of unilaterally reorganizing and reposting staff without informing himself or other board members. Kachikwu also sought the assistance of the President to compell all parastatals to submit to oversight. The minister also requested that the President instruct the NNPC GMD to suspend the recently announced reorganization, till members of the NNPC board make the necessary input.
In a statement posted on its website, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) replied the allegations by Kachikwu. The corporation called them baseless as the NNPC tender board and not the NNPC board were responsible for award of contracts.
The NNPC also stated that apart from the AKK project and NPDC production service contracts, all the other transactions mentioned in the memo were not procurement contracts. The NPDC production service contracts have undergone due process, while the AKK contract had not reached the stage of contract award.
More unanswered questions
Despite the clarification by the Presidency, several questions unanswered. Why did the Vice President wait till the disagreement between the two officials before stating this ? What did Professor Osibanjo discuss with the GMD shortly after Kachikwu’s memo leaked ?