PORT HARCOURT (Sundiata Post) – Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has clarified on his role in the $25 billion contract scandal rocking the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Approached by reporters after the ground-breaking multi-billion Naira historic Bonny-Bodo road project, in Bonny, Rivers State on Thursday, 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 International Oil Companies (IOCs), and not approvals for contracts.
Said he: “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.
“Earlier today, I had 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 incentivise much needed fresh investments in the oil and gas sector.'”
There had been confusion earlier on Thursday when the media quoted Osinbajo’s media adviser, Laolu Akande as having tweeted that the Vice President approved the NNPC contracts as acting president.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru had on Tuesday, through Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC spokesman, indicated that President Muhamadu Buhari had approved N640 billion contracts out of the estimated N9 trillion contract scandal on his sick bed in London when he had handed over to Osinbajo to act as president to enable him (Buhari) undertake a medical vacation in London.