*** As Senate carries out a holistic investigation of NNPC’s Finances
The Senate has begun probe into the accusation of the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru of insubordination and abuse of due process as raised by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu.
The Senate also resolved Tuesday to investigate Kachikwu’s call for the cancellation of the recent appointments in the NNPC, just as it had resolved to carry out a holistic investigation into the finances and activities of the NNPC.
The decision to probe into the allegations raised by Kachikwu against Baru was sequel to additional prayer by Senator Kabir Marafa, APC, Zamfara Central during a discussion on a motion by Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East entitled, “Allegation of Corruption against NNPC Trading: Time to conduct a holistic investigation.”
Anyanwu’s prayer which was taken by the Senators read, “Constitute an ad-hoc committee to investigate the policy introduced by the current NNPC Trading Limited.”
In supporting, Senator Anyanwu’s motion, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, Taraba Central said, “I support the motion and at the same time the holistic investigation of NNPC should go beyond the NNPC Trading in respect of Duke Oil. Unless we do that, NNPC for the past 10 to 15 years, they have lived above everybody in this country. They think they are a government to themselves and so we have to take the bull by the horn. Since we want to fight corruption, we must fight corruption to its totality. And I suggest we include comprehensive investigation of NNPC.
So, I second the motion and at the same time, I want a holistic investigation of NNPC, not just the Trading Company.”
Senator Marafa’s prayer read, “Investigate the allegation made against the GMD of NNPC by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, as contained in his leaked letter to Mr President.
“I think we cannot gloss over the happenings in the Press yesterday, today and possibly the whole of the week. So, instead of coming with another motion, I support completely the formation of the ad-hoc committee and as chairman of the standing committee overseeing NNPC Trading, we will be around to support them in whatever way. And instead of coming up with another substantive motion to look into these allegations made against the NNPC GMD, I want to propose that we include everything into this motion.”
His prayer was seconded by Senator Sunday Ogbuoji, PDP, Ebonyi South.
The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki subsequently set up a nine- man adhoc Committee to carry out a holistic investigation into the issue of insubordination on the part of Baru and how Kachikwu has for over one year, tolerated what he described as the disrespectful and humiliating conducts of the Group Managing Director on his office which the Minister through the leaked letter brought before President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Committee, which has Senator Aliyu Wamakko as Chairman, has Senators Bassey Albert Akpan, PDP, Akwa Ibom North East; Tayo Alasoadura, APC, Ondo Central; Kabir Marafa, APC, Zamfara Central; Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East; Ahmed Ogembe, PDP, Kogi Central; Rose Oko, PDP, Cross River North; Chukwuka Utazi, Enugu North and Baba Kaka Garbai, APC, Borno Central as members.
Earlier in his presentation, Senator Anyanwu had raised a lot of allegations against the NNPC Group Managing Director for allocating almost all products to an oil firm, Duke oil as well as the complete inclusion of lifting of crude oil and gas, among others.
Senator Anyanwu said that “The Senate: Aware that NNPC Trading limited is a business creation of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation;
“Aware that NNPC Trading is composed of the following outfits, Duke Oil; Hyson/Carlson (JV); NAP Oil (JV); and West Africa-Gas LTD (JV);
“Aware that Duke Oil was incorporated in 1989 in Panama and therefore, does not pay tax in Nigeria;
“Aware also that Duke Oil was specially registered to play a dominant role in the trading of petroleum products especially crude oil trade in the international oil market several years ago;
“Further aware that Duke Oil, compared to other major players in the sector, is still grappling with the basics of what it was registered to do inspite of massive support from the NNPC, owing to large scale corruption;
“Aware of the decision by the current GMD to allocate almost all products to Duke Oil, this is in addition to its automatic inclusion in the lifting of Crude Oil, Gas etc, which thus, made Duke oil a money spinning outfit that is accountable only to NNPC;
“Aware that Duke Oil remains the sole importer of AGO to PPMC and Retail, which it does through third party since it cannot import by itself, this contributes in slowing the growth of our indigenous companies that are making giant strides in the sector;
“Aware that since NNPC owns NNPC Trading Limited and the refineries, they also shortlist companies that get allocation of products, lifting of crude oil and importation of products thus, giving undue advantage to the inhouse company, even where it lacks the capacity and requisite requirements to do what it is doing today;
“Also aware of the general lack of transparency and level playing field in favour of Duke Oil to lift products without payment as against its competitors in the sector;
“Further aware that these have combined to make Duke Oil the highest money earner and at the same time, the highest money waster because of the massive corruption in the way and manner they transact business;
“Concerned that this relationship has helped to greatly stifle the growth of indigenous companies operating in the sector;
“Concerned that Duke Oil lacks the requisite credentials to trade internationally, it therefore, makes Duke Oil a giant commission agent only;
“Also concerned that the net effect of the above arrangement is that, NNPC and by extension, Nigeria earns less than otherwise it would have if the process is open and transparent where products are sold directly to indigenous international oil traders;
“Further concerned that money so far earned by NNPC Trading limited through its subsidiaries Such as Duke Oil, remains only in the knowledge of NNPC officials.”