The can of worms have been opened and the stench is ugly.
Earlier in the day, news broke that a letter, which the Minister of State for Petroleum, and Chairman Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) board wrote to President Buhari over the state of affairs in the NNPC, had leaked into public domain.
In the letter, Kachikwu detailed instances of corruption and insubordination channeled by NNPC’s Group Managing Director (GMD), Dr Maikanti Baru.
Here are 5 damaging things Kachikwu’s letter revealed.
1. Kachikwu hasn’t seen President Buhari since he got back from London: According to Kachikwu, despite repeated attempts to see President Buhari, the two Petroleum ministers have not had a one-on-one meeting since Buhari got back from his extended sick leave in the United Kingdom. Said Kachikwu:
“I would have wanted to come personally after receiving you at the airport to felicitate with you and discuss matters herein contained, however I have been unable to secure an appointment to see you despite very many attempts.”
2. Appointments have been made in NNPC without proper consultation:Under normal circumstances, every major appointment made in the NNPC should be subject to approval by the board. But this hasn’t been the case. Kachikwu in his letter said that he finds out about appointments and re-postings in the NNPC the same time as every other Nigerian – on the pages of newspapers and on social media, despite being the boss at NNPC.
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He further said this has been the case since Dr Baru resumed as NNPC GMD. Wrote Kachikwu:
“Indeed in anticipation of vacancies that would arise from retiring senior executives of NNPC, I wrote the GMD a letter requesting that we both have prior review of the proposed amendments. This was to enable me present same to the Board or give an anticipatory approval and then review with the Board later (Appendix 1). I wrote to the GMD given previous happenstances of this nature. In addition, thereafter, I called the GMD to a private meeting where I discussed these issues. Needless to say that, not only did he not give my letter the courtesy of a reply, he proceeded to announce the appointments without consultation or Board concurrence.”
3. Over $25 billion worth of contracts have been awarded without following due process: According to Kachikwu, in the over one year Dr Baru has served as NNPC GMD, no contract has been run through the board. This is in spite of the fact that the legal and procedural requirement of contract awarding is that contracts worth over $20 million would need to be reviewed and approved by the Board of NNPC.
Kachikwu went on to list a number of contracts totaling $25 billion which were awarded by the NNPC Tenders Board which GMD, Dr Baru heads that flouted the $20 million mark.
The contracts include:
– The Crude Term contracts – value at over $10 billion
– The DSDP contracts – value at over $5bn
– The AKK pipeline contract – value approximately $3bn
– Various finacing allocation funding contracts with the NOCs – value over $3bn
– Various NPDC production service contracts – value at over $3bn -$4bn
4. GMD attends meetings at will: Collaborative meetings are important in every organisation to chart a course, and the NNPC is no different. It is to this end that Kachikwu, in his letter, said he instituted Monthly Parastatal meetings with Heads of Agencies, and another with the Senior Management in all Parastatals.
However, Kachikwu said the GMD objected to his senior staff attending the Joint Senior Management meetings on the ground that “this was over reaching his territory”.
Kachikwu went on to say that Baru barely attends the monthly Heads of Agencies meetings, and in other cases, sends “subordinates without the courtesy of a call to explain his absence”. He also added that since 2017, he has only had about 4 or 5 one-on-one meetings with Baru.
5. Fear culture in NNPC: According to Kachikwu, “the effect of the attitude of the GMD and the sidelining of the Board is that there is a fear culture in NNPC”.
He went on to say that the open administration which he introduced with President Buhari’s support has been eroded and that “NNPC staff are afraid of contacting me to avoid being punished, sidelined in appointments and targeted.”