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Thursday, 12 October 2017

NNPC $25bn Contract Award: Osinbajo Disowns Laolu Akande


There is confusion in the presidency over the alleged approval of $25 billion contract by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has denied the report that he approved the contract. The Senior Special Assistant to the President, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, had earlier in his tweets on Thursday claimed that Prof. Osinbajo confirmed approving the contracts.
But the Vice President has denied confirming or approving any such NNPC contacts, rather he clarified that what he approved was loans. His aide, Akande had in a series of tweets on his twitter handle @akandeoj, Thursday claimed that Prof. Osinbajo confirmed approving the contracts after due diligence when he acted as President recently. He said Osinbajo approved the recommendations for the contracts as part of necessary actions to deal with backlog of unpaid cash calls and incentivize investments. The presidential aide had said that the clarification became necessary in view of media enquiries that followed NNPC’s claim that the contracts were indeed approved by Osinbajo. The tweets stated: “In response to media inquiries on NNPC joint venture financing, VP Osinbajo, as Ag President approved recommendations after due diligence & adherence to established procedure. Action necessary to deal with huge backlog of unpaid cash calls which Buhari adm. inherited and also to incentivize much needed fresh investments in the oil & gas sector.” However, the Vice President has denied approving any contract, rather he said what he approved was two loans for NNPC. In what appeared to be a U-turn Akande in a statement said Prof. Osinbajo made the clarification in view of media enquiries that followed NNPC’s claim that the contracts were indeed approved by him (Osinbajo). Akande tweeted: “In response to media inquiries on NNPC joint venture financing, VP Osinbajo, as Ag President approved recommendations after due diligence & adherence to established procedure. “Action necessary to deal with huge backlog of unpaid cash calls which Buhari adm inherited and also to incentivise much needed fresh investments in the oil & gas sector.” The Vice President who was in Bonny Island where he flagged off the Bodo-Bonny Road, Rivers state, said he only granted loans and not contracts. In a statement with the title, “NNPC: AG. Presidential approval were for financing arrangements not contracts says VP Osinbajo”, Akande said the clarification was to correct his earlier tweet. He said, “Approached by reporters after the ground-breaking multi-billion Naira historic Bonny-Bodo road project, in Bonny, Rivers State, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, explained specifically that the approvals he granted to the NNPC while he was Acting President were for financing arrangements for the Joint Ventures between the corporation and IOCs, and not approvals for contracts. “These were financing loans. Of course, you know what the Joint Ventures are, with the lOCs, like Chevron, that had to procure. In some cases, NNPC and their Joint Venture partners have to secure loans and they need authorisation to secure those loans while the President was away. “The law actually provides for those authorisations. So I did grant two of them and those were presidential approvals, but they are specifically for financing joint ventures and they are loans not contracts.

Vanguard

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