March 26, 2023

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The presidency has dismissed the claim that $25 billion contracts were awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) or that the amount is missing.

According to the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, no contracts were awarded by the NNPC based on the memo of the Petroleum Resources Minister of State, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to President Muhammadu Buhari, even though the impression has been maliciously created in the past few weeks.

While responding to media inquiries yesterday on the matter, Akande disclosed that a closer look at each of the said projects reveals clearly that they are not procurement contracts.“When I tweeted on Thursday morning last week, I had indicated that the vice president, while acting as president, approved joint venture financing arrangements. But for some curious reasons, a few media reports used that tweet to report that I said the then acting president approved N640 billion worth of oil contracts. The report is both false and misleading and therefore ought to be completely ignored by all seekers of truth,” Akande said.

According to him, what is more important is that “when you look diligently at the referenced projects/transactions one by one, you will see, as NNPC has shown, that none of them is actually a procurement contract.

“Take both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale, Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreements, for instance, these are not procurement contracts involving the expenditure of public funds. Both transactions are simply a shortlisting process in which prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum are selected under agreed terms, and in accordance with due process.

“It is therefore wrong and misleading to refer to them as though they’re contracts involving the expenditure of NNPC funds, or public funds of any sort. As you now know, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources himself has clarified that he meant to focus on administrative and governance issues, not to red-flag any fraud because no fraud exists in this matter.”

Akande said it was not true and also inaccurate to attach $10billion and $5billion values to both transactions. “Attaching monetary values to these contracts is an arbitrary act that completely distorts the understanding of the situation.

“Nigerians ought to be informed clearly that whenever there is a monetary value on any consignment of crude oil lifted in this country by any firm, the proceeds go directly to the Federation Account and not to any company. In fact, the Buhari administration in the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has closed down multiple NNPC accounts in order to promote transparency and probity.”

The presidential aide also explained that even in compiling the shortlist for the prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum under agreed terms, “there were public placements of advert in the mass media seeking Expressions of Interest (EoI). Bids were publicly opened in the presence of NEITI, DPR, BPP, Civil Society groups and the press. In some cases even, these events were televised live.”

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