The claim by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, that the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, inappropriately awarded contract for the N885 billion Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas pipeline project is false, an investigation by PREMIUM TIMES has shown.
Also untrue, our findings show, is Mr. Kachikwu’s claim that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the contract after Mr. Baru initiated an inappropriate award process that sidelined him (Mr. Kachikwu) and the NNPC board.
In his controversial August 30, 2017 memo to President Buhari, Mr. Baru had, among other allegations, accused Mr. Baru of flouting due process in the award of the $2.89 billion (about N885 billion at N306.3 to one U.S dollar) AKK contract.
But in a curious move, Mr. Kachikwu, on December 13, presented the same contract to the Federal Executive Council, seeking approval to award it.
When PREMIUM TIMES asked him why he sought approval for a contract he accused the NNPC of inappropriately awarding three months earlier, the minister said his action was meant to correct the irregularity in the initial award process carried out by Mr. Baru.
“What I wrote to the President in my memo, which was presented to FEC, was to remind him that these were some of the contracts he had already approved,” Mr. Kachikwu said .
“What I complained about (in memo to the President) was about due process not being following in the initial approvals obtained without seeking my concurrence or input.
“What I did was an inverse approval process, which is post-the fact, by taking the details of the contract tender back to the NNPC Board, briefed its members and obtained their buy-ins.
“The due process is that before contracts go to FEC, they should go first to the Board of the company, in this case NNPC, to give everyone the opportunity to make their inputs.”
But PREMIUM TIMES can report authoritatively today that Mr. Kachikwu was economical with the truth as far as this particular contract is concerned.
The contract was neither awarded by Mr. Baru nor was it ever approved by Mr. Buhari before that December 13 when the minister presented it before FEC.
Premium Times, December 23, 2017
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