Alleged $3.5bn diversion: National Assembly unfair to NNPC, says Baru
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, on Thursday said that the National Assembly was unfair to the NNPC regarding the lawmakers’ position that the oil firm violated processes while subsidising Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.
Baru spoke on the sidelines of the 2018/2019 bid opening for NNPC insurance contractors at the headquarters of the corporation in Abuja.
The NNPC boss, who disclosed that over 600 brokers submitted bids for the corporation’s insurance contract, argued that the oil firm was transparent, as against the popular belief in the public.
He said, “At the time that we had no fuel, the National Assembly was on our neck and they said they gave us two weeks to clear fuel queues. We did what was right, cleared the fuel queues. Now that they are in the comfort of driving and feeling comfortable, they now say that we violated processes in the process of removing the fuel queues.
“I think it’s quite unfair because the way that people perceive the NNPC requires that they should give us the benefit of doubt and ask us what the issue is and we are always ready to explain. We are very transparent and do our work with integrity and accountability.”
Early this month, the Senate began an investigation of the alleged diversion of $1.05bn from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas dividend account by the NNPC.
The probe was a separate one from an earlier investigation by the Senate into illegal payments by the NNPC to augment the shortfalls between the landing cost and pump price of petrol.
The Senate had set up an ad hoc committee, chaired by the Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, to investigate an alleged $3.5bn account kept by the NNPC for petrol subsidy payment.
Speaking further on claims that the NNPC was not transparent, Baru said, “Being the CEO of NNPC, I’ve learnt that a lot of people don’t know what the corporation is. So I give them the benefit of doubt and I am very patient to explain to people what the NNPC is and how NNPC is working.
“In terms of transparency and accountability, I can guarantee you that there is no other government agency that is more open than us. We are the first government agency, and I think the only one, that is still publishing its accounts on a monthly basis and unfailingly.”