Osinbajo: I approved joint venture financing contracts for NNPC


Nigeria's state-owned oil firm on Monday denied awarding any contracts without following due process, dismissing as "baseless" claims by Petroleum Minister Ibe Kachikwu that the agency routinely flouts the law.

PANDEF, which is under the leadership of Chief Edwin Clark, demanded that the $25bn contracts and procurements made by the NNPC should be revoked and re-awarded after undergoing a thorough process of checks and balances.

"These were financing loans".

He said this was to deal with a huge backlog of unpaid cash calls and incentivise investments.

The NNPC boss was also quoted as saying that the 25 billion dollars for financing arrangements between the corporation and IOCs had presidential approval.

The Vice President who was in Bonny Island where he flagged off the Bonny-Bodo Road project in Rivers State yesterday said he only granted loans and not contracts.

Osinbajo's response came shortly after Laolu Akande, his spokesman, confirmed that his principal had approved recommendations (on the loans) "after due diligence and adherence to established procedures".

Vice-President of the federal republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday clarified that what he approved for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC ) when President Buhari was away on medical vacation were financing loans and not contracts. The law actually provides for those authorisations.

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But contrary to the position of the Vice President that what he approved were for financing arrangements, NNPC in a statement earlier said it received presidential approvals for two oil contracts on July 10 and July 31 worth $1 billion and $780 million, respectively.

"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".

He had also alleged that the $25 billion contract was struck without consulting the office of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources or the board of the corporation.

To his audience made of scores of experts in oil and gas industry, he said: "The conversation has been largely misunderstood to border on fraud". I think a lot of people got it wrong. "I think I and Baru are working together as Mr. President has directed to move forward".

According to the minister, "Mr. President has urged the two of us to find ways of working together to remove doubt and rift".

"He is a honest leader, so nobody should accuse him of engaging in fraud". They have done well in ensuring that things move well in his area.

Kachikwu, however, observed that not much local content had been engaged in offshore oil and gas operations and enjoined the NCDMB to move in that direction.