The Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that the approvals he granted to the NNPC while he was acting president were for financing arrangements for the Joint Ventures between the corporation and International Oil Companies, and not approvals for contracts.
Mr Osinbajo made this clarification in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that the presidential approvals were specifically for financing joint ventures, and they were loans not contracts.
According to the vice president, the law actually provides for those authorisations.
The statement reads in part: “Approached by reporters after the ground-breaking multi-billion naira historic Bonny-Bodo road project, in Bonny, Rivers State, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, explained specifically that the approvals he granted to the NNPC while he was acting president were for financing arrangements for the Joint Ventures between the corporation and IOCs, and not approvals for contracts.
“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.’’
Mr Akande had earlier tweeted on the same matter thus: “In response to media inquiries on the NNPC Joint Venture financing arrangements, VP Osinbajo, as Acting President, approved the recommendations after due diligence and adherence to established procedures.
“This was, of course, necessary to deal with huge backlog of unpaid cash calls which the Buhari administration inherited, and to incentivize much needed fresh investments in the oil and gas sector.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, had, in a memo leaked to the media, informed President Muhammadu Buhari that the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, was disrespectful to him.
He also allegedly accused the GMD of awarding contracts worth over 25 billion dollars without approval of the board of the corporation.
However, Mr Baru had reacted to the allegations by the minister in a statement signed by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu titled “Allegations of Lack of Adherence to Due Process in NNPC Contract Awards.”
Mr Baru stated that the laws of the corporation, “do not require a review or discussion with the Minister of State or the NNPC Board on contractual matters.”
The NNPC boss was also quoted as saying that the 25 billion dollars for financing arrangements between the corporation and IOCs had presidential approval.