Thursday, 12 October 2017

I granted approvals for loans not NNPC contracts – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has clarified that the approvals he granted to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were for financing arrangements for the Joint Ventures between the corporation and IOCs and not contracts.

Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu had written a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari, where he accused Baru of $26bn contract scam.

Kachikwu also accused the NNPC boss of insubordination and sidelining him from important decisions.

Baru had also responded to the allegations, stating that no law mandates him to discuss contracts with Kachikwu.

A critical analysis of Baru's reply to Kachikwu showed that NNPC received presidential approvals for at least two contract awards during the time President Buhari was on medical leave in London.

The two oil contracts worth N640 billion were reported to have been approved by Buhari while on medical leave in London.

NNPC's statement said it received presidential approvals for two oil contracts on July 10 and July 31 worth $1 billion and $780 million, respectively, while Buhari was on medical leave.

The NNPC later said Osinbajo approved the contracts while Buhari was on medical leave.

However, Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement Thursday night, quoted him as clarifying in Bonny Island where he flagged off the Bodo-Bonny Road, Rivers State.

He said he only granted loans and not contracts.

He quoted him as saying, “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.”

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