Ribadu urges FG to implement his committee’s recommendations

The Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, Nuhu Ribadu on Monday called on the Federal Government to fully implement the report of his committee for it to demonstrate its sincerity to bring sanity to the oil industry in the country and expose those benefitting from the non-remittance of oil sales.

Mr Ribadu while speaking with newsmen after a condolence on former Kwara State governor, Bukola Saraki over the death of his father explained that the implementation of the report would sanitize the oil sector of cabals who do not wish the country well.

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) presidential candidate in the 2011 elections added that the country needs a clean and better oil industry that will cater for majority of Nigerians and expressed optimism that the country would be great if the leaders are serious on fighting corruption.

He said his committee has done a good job with recommendations if implemented will lead to cleaner oil industry in the country.

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.”

Ribadu’s report is ‘substantially ok’ – El-Rufai

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nasir El-Rufai on Thursday said the report on the operations on the Nigeria oil and gas sector presented by the Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force, Nuhu Ribadu is substantially satisfactory.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, the former minister said, though the report may have some shortcomings, the Federal government should not ‘throw the baby with the bath water.’

Mr El-Rufai said: “That somebody submitted a report and said ‘I have figures but you need to crosscheck them’ does not make the report incomplete or useless.”

He said the Federal Government should consider all the recommendations of the report and identify those that can be implemented.

“They should not question the integrity of the whole report just because a couple of members, clearly with interest, have spoken out against the report. The report is substantially ok. More than 20 members of the committee have not come out to disown the report. The other three have not written a minority report.

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“Steve Oronsaye and Nuhu Ribadu are both friends of mine, but here I must say Steve is wrong to say that because of his fidelity to process as an accountant the whole report should be thrown out. I don’t agree with that,” he said.

The former minister insisted that there is no discrepancy between the two versions of the Ribadu report in circulation and that if the government implements the recommendations in the reports, the Nigeria oil and gas sector will be better managed.

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Ribadu lied; Oronsaye attended committee meetings – Ogunkunle

A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Accountants, Ademola Ogunkunle on Thursday said, contrary to the allegations of the Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Task force, Nuhu Ribadu that Steve Oronsaye never attended the panel’s meetings; that the former head of civil service attended four of eight meetings.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ogunkunle said he was privy to the minutes of the 26-man committee and that Mr Oronsaye’s name appeared on the attendance register of four of the panel’s meeting.

There was a faceoff between Mr Ribadu and Oronsaye during the presentation of the committee’s report to President Goodluck Jonathan with the former accusing the latter of not participating in the panel’s work.

Mr Oronsaye also disclaimed the report presented by Mr Ribadu insisting that the figures in the report were not verified.

Former lawmaker says Oronsaye not fit for public office

A former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Babatunde Ogala, who was also a discussant on Sunrise Daily said what Mr Oronsaye did on the day his committee presented its report to President Goodluck Jonathan was ‘a show of shame.’

He said the former Head of Service ‘has shown himself to be a man that is even not fit to hold any office in this country.”

The former lawmaker said it was irresponsible for Mr Oronsaye to have verbally disclaimed a report presented by a committee he was a part of, without presenting a minority report to the President.

“If you did not agree with the majority report, have yours ready,” he said.

Former Commissioner accuses Ribadu of politicizing his assignments

A former commissioner of the Ekiti State Civil Service Commission and a public affairs analyst, Sanya Adesua on Tuesday said Nigeria boggled another opportunity to re-focus positively on the oil and gas industry which is the mainstay of the economy.

The ex-commissioner, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said he wondered why despite many reports from sundry committees, the Nuhu Ribadu report should be enmeshed in controversy.

Mr Adesua further said he wondered why the report was leaked before it was handed over to the Federal Government, insisting that it could be because the panel intended to hide some information from the public.

Watch complete interview for more details.

Punish those indicted in Ribadu’s report or face legal action, group tells FG

Civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the Federal Government to “publish the report of the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force and punish those indicted or face legal action.”

The organization in a public statement dated 11 November 2012 and signed by its Executive Director Adetokunbo Mumuni said that, “Rather than emphasising the fundamental principles highlighted and using the Ribadu report as a framework for further concrete action to combat impunity for corruption in the oil sector, the government has embarked on a widespread public campaign to rubbish the report of a task force that it voluntarily commissioned. This is hugely disappointing, and in fact has embarrassed our country in the comity of nations.”

According to the organization, “No report anywhere in the world is perfect but the way the government has conducted itself in this case suggests that it is not politically committed to honouring the country’s international anti-corruption obligations and commitments, including under the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

“The way and extent to which the government has gone to discredit the outcome of the enquiry by its own task force, however tentative the conclusions of the report may be, suggests that this government has something to hide,” the organization also stated.

“To combat systemic corruption and the root causes of impunity of perpetrators, we urge the government to urgently and publicly commit to the full and effective implementation of the Ribadu report and other similar reports. Verifying and reconciling some of the facts established by the report is good but must never be used as an excuse to dump it. Otherwise, it would be a case of using technicality to undermine the need for justice and accountability for the economic crimes well documented by the report,” the organization also said.

“If this government fails to publish the Ribadu report and allow the citizens to see for themselves the information the report contains, our citizens will be absolutely justified to conclude that the government’s constant resort to setting up committees and task forces to supposedly uncover the truth about corruption allegations is nothing more than a public relation exercise,” the organization further stated.

According to the organization, “Instead of keeping Nigerians in the dark on the recommendations of the report and information about those indicted, the government needs to speak out urgently if it is to demonstrate that it is truly committed to the fight against not just corruption involving the ‘small fry’ but also corruption involving the ‘big fish’ at the highest level of government.”

The organization also said that, “While the government has strenuously faulted the report in terms of the process allegedly followed, it has not been forthcoming with information as to exactly which aspects of the substantive conclusions it disagrees with it. Does the government disagree with the fact that Shell is yet to pay into the Federation Account a total of N137.572 billion ($946.878 million) made from gas sales from the Bonga oil field? Or that the Federation Account has been short-changed of revenues to the tune of $29 billion over a 10 year period?”

“Unfortunately, the government’s reaction to the Ribadu report illustrates the chronic failure or lack of enthusiasm and commitment by the government to implement recommendations of reports of countless commissions and task forces concerning allegations of corruption at the highest level of government,” the organization also stated.

According to the organization, “A public commitment to implement the report will send a powerful message that this government will not tolerate corruption at the highest level of government, and will represent an important step forward in the government’s fight against corruption and corporate secrecy and impunity. This public commitment backed up with a strong political will is key to breaking the cycle of corruption that blights the lives of millions of people across the country.”

“If the government refuses to take this path, SERAP will consider appropriate legal actions nationally and internationally to ensure strict enforcement of Nigeria’s international anticorruption and human rights obligations and commitments by compelling the government to explain to the Nigerian people the recommendations contained in the Ribadu report and other similar reports (such as the KPMG report and the reports on the $180 million Halliburton bribe scandal), and what the government’s plans are to effectively implement these reports,” the organization further stated.

It would be recalled that the Ribadu committee, set up in February, after nationwide protests over the attempted removal of fuel subsidies, was asked to verify the government’s income from oil and gas, and make recommendations to the government. Apart from the Ribadu report, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative reports, the first covering the period 1999 to 2004, the second 2005, and the third 2006 to 2008, and the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on fuel subsidy, also revealed how oil revenues had been stolen at both upstream and downstream ends of the oil trade.  NEITI, for instance, disclosed that the Federal Government earned a total of $269 billion from the oil sector within the period 1999-2008, which had little impact on the welfare of the citizens.

A new report by the Financial Times alleges that over 180,000 barrels of stolen Nigerian crude are sold daily in the international black market. Apart from the N86.6 billion fleeced by NNPC executives through fraudulent foreign exchange rate conversion, the Ribadu panel detailed losses to the nation of N16 trillion through questionable deficits and theft; N178 billion worth of refined fuel through pipeline vandalism; $5 billion short-payment by the NNPC, and $3.02 billion in unpaid royalties among other sordid details. NEITI had earlier revealed how NNPC officials and their collaborators fraudulently misused the 445,000 bpd allocated for domestic refining for corrupt enrichment and how laws and global best practices are flagrantly flouted by the corporation.

 

Ribadu’s committee bungled an opportunity to reform the oil sector – Analysts

The Nuhu Ribadu led committee on the Petroleum Revenue Taskforce has been blamed for rushing to submit its report on the investigation of the nation’s oil sector, thereby bungling an opportunity to reform the oil sector.

This was acknowledged by the two guests on our weekend show, Sunrise, who both enjoined the federal government not to dump the report.

They called for another committee to be set-up to further investigate the report and reconcile the controversial figures.

According to Mr Oladeinde Ariyo, a security expert, “the committee was in no doubt self-destruct with some intrusion in the committee” he stated while speaking on the members that made up the committee.

But the committee shot itself in the foot by admitting that figures in the report were not verified, he added.

“Stating that the figures are not verified threw the spanner in the wheel of the report” he said, adding that the committee should have requested for more time to conduct a thorough job.

The Special Adviser to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe had on Thursday revealed that a paragraph which he described as a ‘Disclaimer’ made the report “perfidious and incomplete. “

The paragraph in the submitted report stated that “due to the time frame of the assignment, some of the data used could not be independently verified and the task force recommends that the government should conduct such necessary verifications and reconciliations.”

Also discrediting the report, a former Commissioner with Ekiti State Civil Service, Chief Sanya Adesua, stated that “there is no way the report can be enforced because the committee self-confessed that they have failed by not verifying numerous data quoted in the report.”

He also decried the failure of the committee to invite and interview critical stakeholders in the nation’s oil and gas sector such as the NLNG.

He commended Mr Steve Oronsanye, who was involved in a brawl with the committee’s chairman during the presentation of the report that it was not ready.

“God bless Steve Oronsanye” he stated as he admitted that the two men that kicked against the report are now vindicated.

The two analysts also demanded that the committee members must come out and explain to Nigerians why they bungled this profound opportunity.

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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.

NEITI says Ribadu’s report followed trend of previous audits

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) on Sunday said that the report submitted by the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, headed by the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu followed the trend of previous audits of the oil and gas sector in the country.

President Goodluck Jonathan receiving the Petroleum Revenue Task Force report from the Minister of Petroleum, Deziani Allison-Maduake at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. With them are the Special Task Forces on Governance and Control, Dotun Suleiman, Chairman, the Chairman of the taskforce, Nuhu Ribadu, and the Alternate Chairman, Refineries Special Task Force, Yusuf Alli.

In a statement signed by the Chairman, National Stakeholders Working Group, of the NEITI BOARD, Ledum Mitee, the group said “as an agency statutorily set up to develop a framework for transparency and accountability in the management of revenues from Nigeria’s extractive industries, especially oil and gas, NEITI has legitimate interest in not only the Report, but the processes, its findings and the outcome.”

NEITI said that it has conducted “three different cycles of industry audits spanning the period 1999-2004, 2005 and 2006-2008 respectively. The Report of another round of comprehensive audit of the oil and gas sector for 2009- 2011 which began early in the year is expected to be concluded by December 2012.

“Each of the past NEITI audit Reports clearly identified financial, physical and process lapses, and revealed a loss of some 2.6 billion USD due to underpayments, under-assessments,  poor judgment in the computations of volume of crude sales and other leakages only.

“From the past audits, NEITI reports equally disclosed that a whooping total sum of $9.8 billion (equivalent to ₦1.373 trillion at the current exchange rate) is outstanding recoverable fund due to the Federation Account from the companies.  NEITI also openly expressed concern that there was no sufficient effort to recover the funds from the companies, by the affected relevant government agencies, even when the companies have not shown any resistance to pay.

“NEITI industry audits have also consistently identified and highlighted the problems within the sector, proposed solutions and ways to implement them, but implementation of these recommendations and remediation issues has remained a major challenge in spite of the efforts of NEITI under the Inter- Ministerial Task Team set up by the Federal Government for these purposes.

“NEITI notes that the reported findings of the Ribadu Committee are not surprisingly, rather it followed the trend of NEITI audits, given the prevailing poor institutional linkages, systematic leakages, poor legal framework, governance and process lapses which appear to characterize business ethics in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria over the years. The Ribadu Report has re-opened a compelling and urgent case for necessary follow- through actions on remedial issues already identified and recommended by the extant NEITI reports.

“While NEITI also considers the series of probes now on-going in the oil and gas sector as most welcome fundamental steps towards actualizing the global principles and objectives of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative which Nigeria voluntarily subscribed to as a member since 2003, it feels however that had the remedial issues identified by the NEITI audit reports been dealt with or had NEITI the necessary enabling enforcement powers, some of the issues necessitating and identified by these probes would have since been dealt with.

“NEITI certainly feels vindicated by the reported findings of the Ribadu Committee, it is our belief that one further thing the Ribadu Report has clearly achieved is to expose the need to further strengthen NEITI through necessary amendments to its enabling Act to give it the necessary enforcement powers as well as visible steps to implement the findings and recommendations of audit reports.

“While  awaiting the full publication of the Ribadu Report and anticipated government action thereon,  NEITI believes that the ultimate lesson to be derived from these is the need for coordinated efforts of all; the media, civil society, companies, government and the public for speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) with clear contents and provisions that will bring about accountability, openness, competition, competence and integrity as well as promote investment-friendly environment in our oil and gas industry.”

Ribadu, Oronsanye trade words over Petroleum sector report before Jonathan

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

In his part,  Mr Ribadu accused the former Head of Service of not working with the committee during the course of their investigation.

The former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also accused Mr Oronsanye of accepting an appointed as a member of the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) while the committee was investigating the company and others in the oil sector.

He said: “Steve Oronsanye never participated one day in the deliberations of this committee. Not even a single day. He never”

Mr Ribadu added that: “the first time we saw Steve was at the end of the work when we were talking about recoveries from companies that he jumped in and he got in.”

He defended his position, saying “all the members (of the committee) are here, they can bare witness to what I have said.”

Mr Ribadu said that apart from Mr Oronsanye who accepted an appointed as a of Directors in the NNPC, another member of the committee, Bernard Oti also accepted an appointment as NNPC’s Director of Finance while the committee’s investigation lasted.

Mr Ribadu told the president that “this recommendation is for you to use. It is your work. You thought it wise to bring people from outside to help you look at the industry critically and give an honest opinion.”

Unreconciled figures

Mr Oronsanye, the former Head of Service, who had urged the President not to accept the report claiming some of the figures in the draft report were “unreconciled figures” and that institutions responsible for the figures, such as the Department of Petroluem Resources (DPR) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) were not consulted.

He also alleged that the report that was presented to the President was rushed and was not presented to the committee before it submitted.

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

He said the country need to get its oil industry right because, a lot African countries on the shorelines are now discovering crude “and if we do not get our acts together, investors will just take their money to these countries.”

The  Ribadu led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force was appointed in February and was given 60 working days to deliver their mandate of enhancing integrity and accountability in the petroleum industry.

The 146-page report produced by the committee was earlier in the week leaked to Reuters News agency, revealing that the nation loses out on $29 billion on cut-price gas deals from the year 2002 to the present.

Meanwhile, the former EFCC boss has been reacting on the leakage of the report to the public before presentation.

Answering questions from reporters after the submission of the reports, he said there is no difference between what has been submitted and what has been in circulation.

He insisted that one cannot fault the possibility of a leakage in a project where so many people are involved.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Allison-Madueke, urged Nigerians not to lose focus on the objective behind the reports, saying that there was no  misunderstanding between her and the former EFCC chairman and that she did not in any way interfere with the work of the task force.

Mr Ribadu has since posted on his social media platforms that “no matter the pressure, don’t compromise, stand for the truth and with people of integrity.”

Why we can’t build more refineries in Nigeria – Senator Abe

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (downstream), Magnus Abe on Friday said the reasons why investors are not willing to build refineries in Nigeria is because it is not profitable.

Mr Abe, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said there are refineries in Sierra Leone and Amsterdam that are operated with Nigeria’s money.

“People go to the bank to get guarantee, buy crude from Nigeria and send to these refineries and the refineries are paid. Whether subsidy or no subsidy is irrelevant to that refinery,” he said.

The Senator said there is no relationship between deregulation and the building of more refineries in Nigeria. “These issues are totally not related,” he said.

“To me, why we are not building refineries in Nigeria may be one, because of the infrastructural and security challenges but more importantly, maybe we are not taking enough advantage of the fact that we are actually producing crude in this country to give guarantees to people to say listen if you build your refinery in Nigeria we promise you that you will have first charge access to our crude, we will sell to you who is refining in Nigeria before we sell to anybody who is taking it out,” he added.

Responding to the question on why the existing refineries are not functioning optimally, Mr Abe said “there is a clear incentive to the refineries not to operate at a 100 percent capacity.

“If I own a refinery in Nigeria and then you give me product and I can go and sell those products outside, I’ll probably make more money than if I refine it here, how is that an incentive to me to refine the product here?”