ABUJA – Nigerian lawmakers have set up a committee to investigate allegations of corruption at the state oil company contained in a letter from the minister of state for petroleum.
In the letter from Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu to President Muhammadu Buhari, dated Aug. 30 and confirmed by the oil ministry, the minister said the conduct of the head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) lacked transparency.
He said recent appointments by NNPC’s group managing director (GMD), Maikantu Baru, should be suspended pending a review. He also accused Baru of largely bypassing the board of directors.
A spokesman for NNPC on Thursday said the state oil company was awaiting written confirmation of the motion from the Senate.
Nigeria’s upper chamber of parliament, the Senate, on Wednesday passed a motion to set up a committee to investigate the allegations.
“The motion highlighted the fact that Duke Oil, one of the outfits that makes up NNPC Trading was incorporated in 1989 in Panama and does not pay tax in Nigeria,” said a statement issued by Senate president Bukola Saraki.
The statement also referred to allegations that Duke Oil had received favourable treatment that gave it an advantage over competitors.
“The Senate has constituted this ad-hoc committee to investigate the policies introduced by the current GMD of NNPC to allocate all products to Duke Oil and carry out a holistic investigation into the activities of NNPC Trading Limited,” it said.
OPEC member Nigeria has struggled with low oil prices and suffered cuts in output caused by militant attacks and ageing infrastructure. The government relies on oil for roughly two thirds of its revenue.
Reporting by Camillus Eboh; writing by Alexis Akwagyiram, editing by David Evans(Reuters)