Jonathan gives Ministers two weeks to vet Ribadu’s report

In a bid to fulfill his pledge that recommendations made by the controversial Ribadu Report would be looked into, President Goodluck Jonathan has set up white paper committees to prepare Draft White Papers on the reports of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force and two other reports on the nation’s oil sector.

The others are reports presented by the National Refineries Special Task Force and the Governance and Controls Special Task Force.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr Reuben Abati on Thursday announced the appointment of the latest committee to probe the nation’s oil sector.

According to Dr Abati, “the committees are to study the reports, review the issues raised and prepare Draft White Papers for the consideration of the Federal Executive Council within two weeks.”

The white paper committee on the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force report-now known as Ribadu report-will be chaired by the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, with the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, Minister of State for FCT, Chief Jumoke Akinjide, and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed as members.

It will be recalled that President Jonathan, after the rancour between members of the committee during their submission of the report, gave the assurance that despite the rancour , his administration will look into the report and prosecute any one alleged of misappropriation in the nation’s oil sector.

The Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and a member of his team, Steve Oronsaye traded words at the presentation of the committee’s report to the President with the latter alleging that the report was flawed with unconfirmed figures.

The white paper committee on the report of the Governance and Controls Special Task Force will be chaired by the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Ama  Pepple.

Other members of the committee are Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, and Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mallam Bukar Tijani.

The white paper committee on the report of the National Refineries Special Task Force has Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Mohammed Sada as chairman, and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Pate and Minister of State for Education, Mr. Ezenwo Nyeson Wike as members.

According to the statement, the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will provide a secretariat for the committees.

The statement further adds that the President has made the move “in furtherance of his declared commitment to doing all within his powers to ensure greater accountability, probity and transparency in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.”

Reps demand implementation of Ribadu’s report

Despite the controversy trailing the report of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force set up by President Goodluck Jonathan, lawmakers in the House of Representatives, have advised that the recommendations of the report be implemented.

This is coming as the presidency on Thursday described the report as incomplete and incapable of indicting anyone.

The lawmakers described as unfortunate the face-off between the chairman of the task force, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and some members of the task force over the procedure adopted in coming up with the report.

But they noted however that the face-off is not unusual and advised that the merits of the report should not be overlooked, adding that even in the parliament, such disagreements over reports do occur.

The Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, had claimed that there was a major public disinformation campaign which was calculated to overheat the polity, and incite Nigerians against the President because of the report.

He added that the committee did not achieve the task assigned to it as it failed to adhere to the terms of reference laid for it.

NLNG says Ribadu’s report is ‘grossly erroneous’

Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Company has denied key findings in a government-commissioned probe into the country’s oil and gas sector, which accused the firm of paying below market prices for gas supplied to its 22mn tonnes per annum plant and that it owed $29 billion to the Federal government for this gas.

The report by the special task force on petroleum revenue led by a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu was received by President Goodluck Jonathan last Friday.

But NLNG, whose shareholders are the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell, Total and Italy’s Eni, rejected the report’s findings on its operations.

“This report is inaccurate and the allegation grossly erroneous,” NLNG said.

“It is an error to compare the price of raw material (natural gas feedstock) to that of finished product (regasified LNG). It is even worse to declare the difference as losses or cut down rates. This sort of comparative economic analysis is simply bizarre. It fails to recognise the intensive production-liquefaction costs, the shipping costs, the regasification costs, taxes and levies and other ancillary charges,” the company added.

NLNG said it had paid over 300pc of the going rate of gas in Nigeria during the period under review.

The price that NLNG bought gas from producers is a “netback price”, which since 2008 has been between 26pc and 36pc of the weighted prices it obtains from the sales of its products in various regions in the world. This price level compares well across LNG plants globally and reflects the capital-intensive nature of the liquefaction process and shipping costs, NLNG said.

NLNG currently pays over $2 billion per annum to the Federal government in various taxes.

The firm did back the report’s recommendations that more LNG trains should be built in the country, including the seventh train at the current plant on Bonny Island.

ACN accuses FG of sabotaging Ribadu’s work

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Federal Government of deliberately sabotaging the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, headed by the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu, following the controversy that marred the presentation of the task force’s report to President Goodluck Jonathan last Friday.

In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Lai Mohammed on Sunday in the Lagos, the party said the decision to appoint two members of the committee, Steve Oronsaye and Bernard Otti, to positions in the NNPC while the task force was still working on its assignment is a deliberate booby trap.

It said if the Federal Government did not have any ulterior motive; it would have waited for the task force to complete its assignment before naming Mr Oronsaye into the board of the NNPC and Mr Otti as the Director of Finance of the same body.

“Alternatively, both men should have resigned their membership of the committee the moment they were given the plum jobs to avoid the apparent conflict of interest. The fact that they stayed on, only to disparage the report of the task force so openly and ferociously at the end, is the clearest indication yet that they were meant to play that exact role of spoilers,” the party said.

The party said the temerity with which the duo sought to denigrate the report of the task force in the presence of the President of the Federal Republic showed that they must have been acting a well-prepared script.

“All that these two men needed to have done, if indeed they did not agree with the report of the task force, was to write a minority report and present such to the President, instead of engaging in theatrics as they did at the presentation, right in front of the whole world.

“Unfortunately, the President’s efforts to downplay the whole disagreement and give the dissenters a soft landing did more to accentuate the damage done to the report by the two men. The President’s statement, that becoming board members of NNPC does not disqualify them from being members of the task force, is an indication of his innermost thoughts on this issue,” it said.

The ACN however said it was not surprised at how things turned out with the task force, having previously warned, in a statement it issued on 8 February 2012, that naming credible people like Mr Ribadu to head the task force might just be part of government’s ploy to poach credible personalities from the opposition just so it can decimate it (opposition) and also tarnish the well-earned credibility of such personalities.

“Among our observations in that press statement, we had said: ‘There is also the possibility that booby-traps will be deliberately set for such credible personalities to guarantee their failure in their stated assignment, after which they will be ridiculed and dumped like an ordinary chump’.” the party said, adding: ”We hate to say our fears have been justified.”

It reiterated its earlier statement that the Federal Government is not interested in any genuine effort to clean up the corruption and mess in the oil sector, and that is merely engaging in window dressing by setting up committees upon committees, whose outcomes will eventually add to the growing list of reports that are now gathering dust at the presidency.

Presidency refutes ACN’s claim

Meanwhile the presidency has refuted claims by ACN that the federal government is deliberately sabotaging the petroleum revenue special task force, headed by Mr. Ribadu, following the controversy that marred the presentation of the task force’s report last Friday.

A statement issued by the presidency says the ACN’s allegation, falls into a familiar pattern by the party to tell lies and discredit every initiative of President Goodluck Jonathan.

The statement from the presidency affirmed that President Jonathan remains committed to the war against corruption and that every step his administration has taken has been in this direction, and that has not changed.

The presidency goes on to deploy what it describes as an attempt by ACN to accuse it of having had a hand in the open dissension among members of the Ribadu committee.

The ACN had also claimed that Mr. Steve Oronsaye and Mr. Bernard Otti’s appointment onto the board of the NNPC while serving on the Ribadu committee compromised their position.

The opposition party had in a statement on Sunday yesterday insisted that the federal government is not interested in any genuine effort to clean up the corruption and mess in the oil sector, and that is merely engaging in window dressing by setting up committees upon committees, whose outcomes will eventually add to the growing list of reports that are now gathering dust at the presidency.

 

Read the full Ribadu’s report here.

Jonathan receives Ribadu’s report amidst controversy as committee members flaw the report

President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that anyone accused of corruption in the report submitted by the Special Task Force on the petroleum sector will be handed over to the Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.

President Jonathan, Minister of Petroleum Deziani Allison-Maduake, Mr. Dotun Suleiman, Chairman, Special Task Forces on Governance and Control; Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Chairman Petroleum Revenue Special Tsks Force and Alternate Chairman, Refineries Special Task Force, Alhaji Yusuf Alli during the presentation of reports of the Petroleum Special Tasks Forces at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

But the presentation of the report was marred by controversy as some members of the committee urged the President to reject the report, claiming it is flawed.

The Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, headed by former EFCC chairman, Mr Nuhu Ribadu submitted its report to the president condemning the use of what he called “traders in the sale of oil, oil theft and corruption” and he was yet to conclude his presentation when a member of his committee interrupted his presentation and asked the president to reject the report .

A member of the committee and former Head of Service, Mr Steve Oransanye described the report, which was earlier in the week leaked to the media, as flawed and he urged the president to reject the report.

Other members of the Ribadu led Petroleum Revenue Task Force that joined the controversy were Mr Benard Oti and Ismaila Zubeiru.

The claim was however immediately opposed by Mr Ribadu, affirming that the report he submitted cannot be faulted by anyone and that he stands by the truth at all times.

The president nonetheless received the report with a promise to take a critical look at the document and maintained that the disagreement amongst members of the committee would not deter him from doing the right thing.

The President told them not to quarrel about it, adding that “no one found guilty will be spared.”

The Ribadu committee was among three other committees set up following the week long nationwide strike and protest against the removal of fuel subsidy in January.

Other committees that presented their reports, during the presentation that lasted two hours, were the committees on Governance and Control Task Force and National Refineries Task Force.

The chairman of National Refineries Task Force, Yusuf Ali in his presentation decried the current state of the nation’s refineries and urged the federal government to build three new refineries as soon as possible.

The president however promised that he will do all in his powers to ensure that the submitted reports are fully implemented.

Jonathan directs Ribadu’s report to be submitted on Friday

President Goodluck Jonathan has directed that the report produced by the Nuhu Ribadu led committee on the management of the nation’s fuel subsidy, be submitted to his office on Friday.

A statement by the Special Assistant to the President on Media, Dr Reuben Abati, on Monday morning stated that “in furtherance of the administration’s commitment to transparency, probity, and accountability in the petroleum sector, President Goodluck Jonathan has directed that a comprehensive report of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force chaired by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu should be presented to him this week.”

The Committee which was set up in February 2012, was required to, among other tasks, determine and verify all petroleum upstream and downstream revenues (taxes and royalties, etc,) due and payable to the Federal Government of Nigeria, and to take all necessary steps to collect all debts due and owed; to obtain agreements and enforce payment terms by all oil industry operators.

The presentation of the Committee’s report will take place on Friday, November 2, at 11 am, at the State House, Abuja.

The 146 page report which was leaked to Reuters News agency last week, revealed that the nation loses out on $29 billion on cut-price gas deals from the year 2002 to the present.