Corruption in NNPC an unending epidemic, says HURIWA

Posted by News Express | 15 December 2017 | 1,159 times

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•NNPC headquarters

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned what it views as the unending epidemic of corruption and lack of accountability in the hierarchy of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The rights group said the lack of action on the part of President Muhammadu Buhari to block the financial heists and leakages within the top management of the corporation is a constitutional breach of Section 15(5) which provides that “the Nigerian State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.”

The rights group also said that the “seeming inaction and conspiratorial silence of all the anti-corruption agencies to the monumental financial misapplication at the NNPC shows that these anti-graft bodies have become toothless bulldogs of the political party in power at the centre.”

In a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA lamented that the Federal Government under President Buhari had swept under the carpet of impunity, the extensive allegations of breach of procurement law in the award of contracts totalling $24 billion as made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu against the NNPC's Group Managing Director, Alhaji Maikanti Baru.

HURIWA declared that it was unimaginable that even when the hierarchy of the NNPC had yet to respond convincingly and conclusively on the alleged $24 billion contract scam, it has again been enmeshed in another N50 billion hidden bank accounts in breach of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the Federal Government.

It submitted that the fact that NNPC's officials displayed before the House of Representatives a Presidential approval for the flouting of the Federal Government’s financial transparency and accountability TSA policy shows that the Presidency had assumed that it was bigger than the law and policies put in place by the Nigerian State and therefore open to insider abuses.

HURIWA, which expressed strong consternation at the disturbing patterns of official corruption at the NNPC, recalled that in the letter to the President, the Minister of Petroleum accused the NNPC boss of labelling him as “corrupt”, “anti-North”, and also being “in collusion with militants”, in order to convince the President on the need to sideline him in the decision-making process in the state-run oil firm.

HURIWA recalled also that Kachikwu alleged that Baru awarded about $24 billion major contracts without his input or review by the NNPC board, which totally violates the extant procurement law.

HURIWA stated that the Petroleum Minister of State added that he wrote the letter to the President after concerted efforts to have a one-on-one appointment with him at the State House fell through since his return from the United Kingdom for medical reasons.

“The allegations made by the Minister of State for Petroleum against the Group Managing Director of NNPC that he did not consult the Board Services Committee whose function it is to review potential appointments and terminations of senior staff prior to implementation is a very worrying phenomenon that amounted to insubordination to constituted authority, which is totally unethical and unprofessional.

“We are aware that the Minister also alleged that Baru sidelined the NNPC Board in the awards of contracts. According to the Minister, the legal requirement is that all contacts above $20 million should be reviewed and approved by the NNPC board. That the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has comfortably swept these huge allegations of corruption and criminality under the carpets and the government is going about as if all is well is totally reprehensible, despicable and abominable and these criminal allegations must be investigated and anybody indicted must be sanctioned. This government must not treat some public officials as sacred cows even when they are linked to serious crimes against the Nation State,” the group stated.

Furthermore, HURIWA stated that it was disturbing that NNPC has become a cesspool of corruption even as the Presidency looks the other way and the anti-graft bodies are in no way worried that these large scale corruptions are happening within the management of the NNPC.

The rights group condemned the reported Presidential directive to the NNPC management to flout the TSA policy and operate different bank account of over N50 billion and demanded that the NNPC GMD, Baru be dismissed.

It affirmed that: “The alleged huge crime by top management of NNPC, which became manifest when the House of Representatives uncovered how the NNPC flouted the TSA.policy by depositing over N50 billion in various commercial banks, is extremely disturbing and it is even more disturbing that this pattern of criminal allegations are linked to the Office of the President in an administration that talks so much about anti-corruption.”

Source: News Express

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