‘I approved loans for NNPC, not contracts’ -VeePee Osinbajo

Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President has denied ever approving contracts for the NNPC in his capacity as Acting President but that he only approved loans for the organisation.
Osinbajo’s denial, contradicting an earlier statement issued by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the Vice President, amidst the management crisis rocking the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has thrown more confusion into the raging controversy.

His Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity), Laolu Akande, had earlier in his twitter page, @akandeoji, announced that Osinbajo admitted granting approval to the NNPC for two oil contracts worth N640 billion while President Muhammadu Buhari was away on medical leave.Akande said Osinbajo approved the contracts in his capacity as Acting President in July.

โ€œIn response to media inquiries on NNPC joint venture financing, VP Osinbajo, as acting president approved recommendation after due diligence,โ€ Akande stated. โ€œAction necessary to deal with huge backlog of unpaid cash calls which Buhari administration inherited and also to incentivise much needed fresh investments in the oil and gas sector,โ€ he tweeted.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had alleged that NNPCโ€™s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru awarded the contracts without due process.NNPC had stated in its response that two presidential approvals were granted to the corporation for contracts with Shell Nigeria and Chevron at the rate of $1 billion and $780 million.

But Osinbajo later disowned the statement by his aide, saying the approvals he granted to the NNPC while he was acting president were for financing arrangements for the joint ventures between the corporation and International Oil Companies (IOCs) and not contracts.

At Bonny Island in Rivers State where he kicked off the Bodo-Bonny Road project yesterday, Osinbajo insisted that he granted loans and not contracts.โ€œThese were financing loans. Of course, you know what the joint ventures are, with the lOCs like Chevron that have to procure.โ€œIn some cases, NNPC and their joint venture partners have to secure loans and they needed authorisation to secure those loans while the president was away. The law actually provides for those authorisations.

โ€œSo, 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,โ€ the vice president said

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