By Clara Nwachukwu
Former Minister for Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has described the narratives of her former group managing directors, GMDs, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, with regard to the ongoing legislative probe of the oil swap and OPA deals as fabricated tissues of lies.
The embattled former minister’s denial comes as she strongly refuted claims that she approved $24 billion for Renewal of the Crude Oil/Refined Products Exchange Agreement, otherwise called oil swap deals without contracts.
From the inception of the deal in 2009, Federal Government was meant to realise about $1.82 million per 60,000 barrels per day, bpd, against the then losses of $1.47 million being recorded by the corporation.
It is uncertain if all the proceeds from the deal were remitted to the federation account.
During their appearances before the legislators last week, Mr. Austin Oniwon, who was GMD, NNPC, from May 17, 2010 to June 12, 2012, and Mr. Andrew Yakubu, June 12, 2012, to August 2, 2014, said Alison-Madueke had granted them approvals for contracts extension.
In a statement meant to set the records straight yesterday, she rejected some newspaper and online reports, which claimed that she granted an “extension” instead of ‘Approval for the Renewal of Contracts’ for the swap arrangements.
Alison-Madueke, who is currently undergoing extensive cancer treatment in London, was quoted as describing the latest attack as “fabricated tissues of lies deviously concocted to sustain the escalating evil narratives against her person.”
The embattled former minister, who spoke through her spokesman, Mr. Clem Aguiyi, recalled that she gave the following approvals for renewal of contract: one-year term each for both Messrs Trafigura Beheer BV, and Messrs Societe Ivoirienne de Raffinage (SIR), in August 2010; two-year term in August 2011 for the same companies, and one-year term to NNPC subsidiary, Duke Oil, in January 2011.
She added: “Two other approvals were consequently sought by the GMD, NNPC, the first of these on August 29, 2014, seeking to ratify all three aforementioned approvals, which had apparently variously expired during the course of 2013.”
She said she approved all three “in view of the criticality of the situation. Expiry of those terms was put at December 31, 2014, following assurances to the minister that the contractual obligations of the parties to NNPC had, in fact, been fully met, despite the regrettable lapse in renewal time.”
In her narrative, the lapses in expiration to renewal dates were put at seven months for Duke Oil, 10 for SIR, and 12 months for Trafigura.
Furthermore, Alison-Madueke recalled that she had given fresh approvals for Offshore Processing Agreements, OPA, on October 28, 2014, following the recommendation of the then Group Managing Director, GMD, NNPC.
The approvals included a new term of two years commencing from January 1, 2015, for Sahara Energy Resources Ltd; Aiteo Energy and Duke Oil.
According to her, “NNPC strongly recommended and outlined the benefits of the OPA over the swaps and put forward the case for migration from the OPA and crude exchange (SWAP) contracts to OPAs fully.
“NNPC posited that the ‘experienced benefits of the OPA to the Federation’ would be much greater. All approvals were due process-driven and were only given by the Minister, following formal statutory written requests, which contained the technical basis for the renewal and were sent to the Minister by the GMD-NNPC, as is the normal practice.
“NNPC had clearly requested for the approval of the Minister for ‘Renewal of the Crude Oil – Refined Products Exchange Agreement’ and ‘Renewal of Offshore Processing Agreement’ on all the various occasions outlined earlier in this press release.”
Her spokesman further noted that “whereas, it is the Minister’s responsibility to either give or refuse ‘approval’, it was not within her purview as Minister to draft, initiate or conclude the processes of signing the final contracts.
“It is the statutory responsibility of NNPC to ensure that all technical areas are duly covered and all requisite due process parameters are duly implemented.”