October 18, 2021

Re: Crude Lifting Scandal: NNPC Has Case To Answer

4 min read

By Adewole Kehinde

I came across Punch Editorial dated 28 September 2021 with the title “Crude Lifting Scandal: NNPC Has Case To Answer.”

Even though the allegations was laid on the former Minister of Petroleum and the NNPC Management between 2007 and 2018, my response is coming to make clarification that since Mal Mele Kolo Kyari took over on July 8, 2019, officially as the 19th Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Transparency took over corruption in the Corporation.

Even though PUNCH claimed that “LIKE Siamese twins, scandal and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation appear to be inseparable,” on assumption of office, Mal Mele Kolo Kyari promised to breathe new life into the Corporation.

At his inauguration, Kyari emphasised that transparency and accountability would be the cardinal pillars of his management.

He promptly followed up his inaugural pronouncement with the launch of his management’s strategic objectives two weeks later. He christened it as Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence (TAPE).

Since then, he has walked the transparency and accountability talk by opening up the corporation’s books the way no other management before him has done. The key accomplishments in this regard include:

1. As at last week, the Corporation has published its 70th edition of the NNPC MFOR highlights the Corporation’s activities for the period of May 2020 to May 2021.

2. The publication of the 2018, 2019 and 2020 audited financial statements of the corporation and its 19 subsidiaries registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 1990 as amended alongside that of the National Petroleum Investment and Management Services (NAPIMS) to provide clarity on Joint Venture finances. The AFS were published on the corporation’s website for all interested parties to access and scrutinize.

3. A major revelation in the audited financial statements of the three years so far published is the 99.7% reduction of the corporation’s loss profile from ₦803bn in 2018 to ₦1.7bn in 2019. Following this trajectory, the corporation declared profit in the 2020 AFS.

4. The Kyari-led management also sustained the corporation’s Monthly Financial & Operations Reports (MFOR) in line with the TAPE vision. NNPC remains the only national oil company that publishes its financial and operations reports monthly globally.

5. The GMD also led the corporation to enlist with the Global Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) as an EITI supporting company which places NNPC in the group of over 65 extractive companies, state-owned enterprises committed to observing transparency and accountability standards defined by EITI.

6. Another key achievement of the NNPC under the leadership of Mallam Kyari on the transparency terrain is the successful completion of a controversy-free recruitment exercise for 1,000 young graduate trainees to rejuvenate the corporation’s talent mix.

The insinuation that “scandal clings to the NNPC like a second skin” does not arise under the NNPC Management led by Mal Mele Kolo Kyari. That is why the EFCC Chairman even appeared in Court last week Wednesday before an Ikeja High Court to testify as a prosecution witness in a N1.4 billion oil subsidy fraud case involving Nadabo Energy and its Chairman, Abubakar Peters.

So for the Editorial to say that “the major culprits have never been prosecuted” is a wrong perception. The cases on the N1.7 trillion subsidy overpayment scandals of 2011 is undergoing prosecution and very soon, the Judges will come out with the Judgement to the full knowledge of Nigerians.

The culture of corruption, impunity, and opacity at the NNPC came to an end from the day President Buhari who doubled as the Minister of Petroleum Resources appointed the no-nonsense Mal. Mele Kolo Kyari as the 19th Group Managing Director of the Corporation.

President Buhari no doubt has stood against corruption in the Corporation. On 5th February, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari said the transparency now incorporated in the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) is a sign of ending corruption in the petroleum industry.

This was as a result of NNPC publication of its first audited financial statements after 44 years of operation.

President Buhari said and I quote “When we were elected into office in 2015, the industry was in a very dire situation worsened by a backlog of joint venture (JV) cash call arrears,” he said.

“The industry was in need of reforms to attract more investments and attract the needed revenue to support the nation’s economic growth.

“As a new administration, we needed to act fast to address the declining prospects of the industry and aggressively drive economic recovery and improve the country.

“The current transparency and accountability drive in the NNPC is a good indication of the success of our administration’s effort in stemming corruption and sharp practices in the petroleum industry.”

“Substantial settlement of backlog of cash call arrears has been achieved, which has enhanced the investment appetite of our joint venture partners and other prospective investors,” he said.

“We are committed to monetising our huge gas resources through the national gas expansion programme to support national economic diversification and job creation,” the President said.

Mal. Mele Kolo Kyari and its Management deserve commendation for opening up the account and activities of the Corporation to the general public through Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence (TAPE).

Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached via 08166240846, 08123608662. kennyadewole@gmail.com

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