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Monday, 9 October 2017

I am not mandated to discuss contracts with you, Baru replies Kachikwu as Senate demand their immediate suspension


The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru on Monday responded to the allegations made against him by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources in a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Kachikwu had written a memo to President Buhari, alleging that Baru was involved in a $26 billion contract scam.

He also accused him of insubordination and sidelining him in important decisions.

General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, in a statement in Abuja on Monday said the NNPC said the response was a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari.
  
He said the law and the rules do not require a review or discussion with the Minister of State.

“Following the publication of alleged lack of adherence to due process in the award of NNPC contracts, the President ordered the Group Managing Director and Management of the NNPC to consider and respond expeditiously to the allegations,” the statement said.

The NNPC stated that it was “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, 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.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura has advised President Buhari to suspend Ibe Kachikwu and Maikanti Baru.



While speaking on ‘Sunday Politics’, a live programme on Channels TV, the senator said;

 Baru cannot continue to run the daily activities of the NNPC, while investigation is being conducted.

He said action should have been taken already to ensure records have not been tampered with.

He added that Kachikwu should also be suspended pending completion of investigations.
  
The Senator advised the President to step down as oil minister and appoint a replacement who would report to him every week.

Alasoadura said, “I believe so; especially the man who is doing the day-to-day running of the organisation. In order not to hinder or hamper that investigation, because records will be needed and even from the date of the leakage of that letter, I think action should have been taken to ensure that nothing will be missing when investigations start

“So, I think the two of them should be asked to step aside and when investigation is over, whoever is culpable will go and whoever is not culpable, will continue with his duties.”

He added, “Judging from the many problems plaguing our country today, I believe Mr. President should devote more time to other things and let an independent person run the petroleum resources ministry who will then report to him twice or once a week.’’

The Senator added that firms who received the contracts will be invited by the senate.

He added, “We are probing them because we want to get to the root of this matter. If you are doing an investigation, even those who have not been mentioned may have to be invited, but as of today, these are the people that we think should be invited and from there, we may need to invite many more organisations as the probe continues.”




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