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$24bn contracts: Reps summon Diezani, to appear March 2
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$24bn contracts: Reps summon Diezani, to appear March 2

Mfonobong Akpan

The House of Representatives on Monday despatched a letter to former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, asking her to explain how she extended contracts for crude oil worth $24bn without valid agreements.

The Chairman of the House Ad hoc Committee on Crude Oil Swap, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, confirmed on Monday that a letter had been sent to Alison-Madueke to appear before the committee on March 2.

He said the letter was routed through the office of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.

Two firms, Duke Oil and Tranfigura, were given the swap contracts in 2011 under the controversial crude-for-refined products (swap) deals the NNPC executed between 2010 and 2014.

The NNPC was allocated 445,000 barrels of crude daily to refine for domestic consumption.

However, owing to the failure of the country’s three refineries to function, the corporation resorted to exchanging part of the crude for refined products by engaging Duke Oil and Tranfigura.

Incidentally, Duke Oil is a subsidiary of the NNPC while Tranfigura is an offshore firm trading in Nigeria’s crude but does not pay tax to the Federal Government.

The Mohammed-led committee, which is investigating the deals, heard last week that Duke Oil and Tranfigura got an initial swap contracts in 2010 to last one year.

However, after the contracts expired in 2011, the former minister reportedly ordered an “extension” of the contracts, to run till 2014, but did not sign any valid agreements with the firms.

Three former GMDs of the NNPC – Mr. Austin Oniwon, Mr. Andrew Yakubu and Mr. Joseph Dawha – had appeared before the committee last week in Abuja to admit that the crude exchange took place without formal contracts.

“There was an approval for the extension by the minister; I believe the records are with the NNPC,” Oniwon, who was the first to appear before the panel, told the committee.

source: punchng.com