Despite images from the National Economic Summit Group (NESG) event on Monday which showed minister of state for petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu in an embrace with the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru, the controversy between the two appears to be far from over.
Perhaps adding fuel to the burning flames of the controversy, the NNPC has reportedly compiled a fact sheet in which it stated that the minister used his position to influence the award of oil contracts to 9 companies.
Kachikwu had in a leaked memo to President Muhammadu Buhari accused Baru of insubordination and awarding crude term contracts worth $10 billion without consulting him (Kachikwu).
In the fact sheet the NNPC reportedly compiled on Wednesday to debunk the minister’s claims, the oil company stated that not only was Kachikwu consulted on the shortlisting of 40 companies for the crude lifting contracts but that the NNPC board also deferred to the minister’s wisdom when the minister nominated 7 companies to be awarded contracts.
The minister was also said to have nominated 2 companies for the allegedly illegal Direct Sales, Direct Purchase (DSDP) transactions, which Kachikwu in his memo claimed were worth $5billion.
A portion of the fact sheet reads:
“The seven off-takers he recommended are as follows: North-West Petroleum; Setana Energy; Emo Oil; Litasco Supply and Trading Company; Voyage Oil and Gas; Levene International and Cespa Trading. Since the Minister strongly recommended all these companies, we concurred with his recommendation which was based on a professional judgment. We also did not find any of the companies wanting and they met the criteria for crude lifting.
“On DSDP, the Minister also nominated two companies, Messrs Falcon Bay Energy Limited and Rain Oil Limited. The NNPC avoided all these details in its statement on Monday in order to protect the interest of these companies doing legitimate business. But Nigerians can appreciate that Kachikwu’s input was sought.
“Regarding AKK Pipeline contract, NNPC has explained that it is still in the works; it has not been awarded by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).”
The NNPC further accused Kachikwu of failing to take due cognisance of the response of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to the NNPC when he was GMD which confirmed that the NNPC Tenders Board could approve contracts worth $20 million or less.
The fact sheet is said to have been prepared in response to new questions raised by Kachiwku’s supporters for the NNPC GMD, Baru.
The Nation reports that an undisclosed senior official at the NNPC stated that the posers raised by Kachikwu’s supporterts amounted to “mere academic exercise and sheer deceit by the minister.”