Published On: Wed, Oct 4th, 2017

Kachikwu: Senate Mandates Committee To Probe NNPC, GMD

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By Sadiq Umar – The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday mandated its ad-hoc committee to probe the alleged preferential treatment by the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to Duke Oil, one of its trading partners, even as it directed the committee to also investigate allegations of insubordination and corruption leveled against its Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru.

NNPC GMD

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu had in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari accused Mr. Baru of undermining his authority as minister, asking the President to call him to order.

The Senate, following a motion moved by Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo East) who expressed concern about activities of NNPC Trading set up the ad-hoc committee to investigate issues.

The NNPC Trading composed of the following outfits: Duke Oil; Hyson/Carlson (JV); NAP Oil (JV); and West Africa-Gas LTD (JV).

Arguing the motion, Sen. Anyanwu observed that Duke Oil was incorporated in 1989 in Panama and therefore, does not pay tax in Nigeria.

According to him, Duke Oil was specially registered to play a dominant role in the trading of petroleum products especially crude oil trade in the international oil market several years ago.

He however said that Duke Oil, compared to other major players in the sector, is still grappling with its obligations despite massive support from the NNPC, due to large scale corruption.

Sen. Anyanwu questioned, “fhe decision by the current GMD to allocate almost all products to Duke Oil in addition to its automatic inclusion in the lifting of Crude Oil, Gas, which thus made Duke Oil a money spinning outfit that is accountable only to NNPC.”

“Duke Oil remains the sole importer of AGO to PPMC and Retail, which it does through third party since it cannot import by itself, this contributes in slowing the growth of our indigenous companies that are making giant strides in the sector,” he argued.

“Since NNPC owns NNPC Trading Limited and the refineries, they also shortlist companies that get allocation of products, lifting of crude oil and importation of products thus, giving undue advantage to the in-house company, even where it lacks the capacity and requisite requirements to do what it is doing today,” he further said.

Adding that there is a general lack of transparency and level playing field in favour of Duke Oil to lift products without payment as against its competitors in the sector.

The senator said NNPC and by extension, Nigeria is shortchanged by this arrangement, as it earns less than it would have otherwise if the process is open and transparent where products are sold directly to indigenous international oil traders.

Also speaking, Sen. Garba Marafa (Zamfara Central) drew the attention of the Senate to the allegations leveled against the GMD of NNPC, Maikanti Baru by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu in a letter to the President.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki then announced an ad-hoc committee to investigate the issues raised by both Sen. Anyanwu and Sen. Marafa.

The committee will be chaired by Senator Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto North).

Members of the committee are: Senator Kabir Marafa (Zamfara Central), Senator Bassey Akpan (Akwa-Ibom North), Senator Sam Anyanwu (Imo East), Senator Ahmed Ogembe (Kogi Central), Senator Utazi Chukwuka (Enugu North), Senator Rose Oko (Cross River North), Senator Baba Kaka Bashir (Borno Central), and Senator Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo Central).

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