Following allegation of corruption and insubordination leveled against the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has called for the suspension of the NNPC boss.
SERAP in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari requested him to use his good offices and leadership position to urgently refer the allegations of corruption and abuse of office against Baru to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for investigation, and “if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence, for him to face prosecution.”
It further urged Buhari to “suspend Mr Baru pending the referral to the EFCC and ICPC, and the outcome of any investigation by the anti-corruption agencies in order not to create the impression that your government is treating Mr Baru as a sacred cow. We urge you not to allow the allegations against Mr Baru go the way of past inconclusive investigations of allegations of massive corruption within the NNPC.”
SERAP was reacting to the controversies emanating from the petition the Minister of STATE, Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari on August 30, and titled, “Re: matters of insubordination and lack of adherence to due process perpetuated by GMD NNPC-DR. BARU”. The memo had the reference number, (HMS/MPR/001/Vol.1/100).
Since the memo by Kachikwu was leaked during the week, it has sparked a lot of controversies such that the Senate on Wednesday set up a committee to conduct a comprehensive investigation on the allegations against the NNPC boss.
In a letter dated October 5, 2017 and signed by its executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP said “The allegations by Dr Kachikwu constitute grave breaches of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Act of 2000; and the UN Convention against Corruption (UNAC) which Nigeria recently ratified. In particular, the UN Convention against Corruption imposes clear obligations on Nigeria to investigate allegations of corruption such as the present one; prosecute suspected perpetrators and ensure return and repatriation of proceeds of corruption.”
Noting that Baru’s case presents Buhari’s administration with “yet another rare opportunity to reassure a lot of Nigerians who may be worried about the direction of travel of your anti-corruption agenda,” SERAP said that Buhari should not keep silent on the matter.
“We advise you to use this case to show to Nigerians that no form of corruption will be tolerated in the NNPC under your watch.
“SERAP notes the recent allegations of corruption against Mr Baru by Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State of Petroleum and Chairman NNPC Board. In the letter to you Dr Kachikwu alleged among others appointments and postings in NNPC without due process; award of contracts above $20 million without following the legal and procedural requirements for such contracts including the Crude Term contracts- value at over $10 billion; the DSDP contracts- value over $5 billion; the AKK pipeline contract- value approximately $3 billion; various financing allocation funding contracts with the NOCs – value over $3 billion; and various NPDC production service contracts – value at over $3 billion–$4 billion,” the organisation said.
According to SERAP, for Buhari to achieve public confidence and trust and to effectively spread the gospel of anticorruption as well as to be on the right side of history, he should “urgently refer the allegations against Baru to both the EFCC and ICPC for further investigations, and if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence, for him to face prosecution.”
It also called on the president, to “pending the referral to the EFCC and ICPC, to suspend Mr Baru from his position as Group Managing Director NNPC, pending the outcome of any investigation by the EFCC and ICPC.”
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