A report of the House of Representatives ad -hoc committee that probed the
oil sector from 1999 to 2007 has said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo
held the position of Minister of Petroleum illegally.
It says his action breached Sections 138 and 147 (2) of the 1999 Constitution
and raised serious questions on due process of the oil bloc bid rounds conducted
by his administration.
The report, therefore, recommended that the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences
Commission and the Police should investigate those whose activities led to fraud
when the bids were conducted.
Government reportedly lost hundreds of millions of dollars in Signature
Bonuses from oil bloc bids during the Obasanjo administration.
Part of the money, if recovered, will be used to fund the over N1tn deficit
in the 2009 budget.
Investigations by our correspondents showed that the panel’s report was ready
for submission to the House last Tuesday, but was shelved because of the budget
presentation by President Umaru Yar’Adua.
The 25-member ad- hoc committee, chaired by Mr. Igo Aguma, blamed the
irregularities largely on Obasanjo who, it said, illegally occupied the office
of the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
The committee observed that by appointing himself a minister, the former
President contributed largely to the shoddy bid rounds that characterised his
tenure in office.
Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution states: “The President shall not, during
his tenure of office, hold any other executive or paid employment in any
Section 147 (2) states, “Any appointment to the office of Minister of the
Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such
office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.”
Obasanjo never submitted himself to the Senate for screening as petroleum
minister, let alone being confirmed in any form.
According to the committee, Obasanjo never directly interfaced with the bid
processes, but related with his aides who might not have received his approval
on all their actions.
It said that, without a constitutionally recognised minister in charge of the
petroleum sector during Obasanjo years in office, the “legal due process of the
bid rounds” was undermined.
Further, it cited Section II of the Petroleum Act to buttress its position.
However, two of Obasanjo aides who appeared before the committee said that
they received all instructions from Obasanjo who was also the Minister of
The distortions in the bid rounds, the panel said, led to staggered payment
of signature bonuses, some of which had been outstanding since 2001.
It said that in many cases, bid winners never paid the specified amount owing
to “preferential treatment of winners at the conclusion of the bid rounds.”
The committee consequently demanded the full recovery of the revenues lost
during the bids.
THE PUNCH had earlier reported that debts owed by the 16 oil firms (names
withheld) involved in bid round rackets resulted in staggered and preferential
treatments amounting to $1.148bn or about N134.34bn .
The committee’s Recommendation, 17 in particular, states, “The various acts
of reprehensible conduct exhibited by the administrators (of) the Bid Rounds
should be thoroughly investigated by the relevant agencies (the police, EFCC and
ICPC, with a view to prosecuting those persons whose actions and conduct were
induced by improper motives.”
The panel cited the case of a multinational firm, which won OPL 250 and paid
only $75m signature bonus instead of $200m due to the distortion of the
guidelines for the bid rounds.
It said, “The ad -hoc committee, therefore, recommends that signature bonuses
must be paid in full at the time of the execution of the Production Sharing
“Even though this field (OPL 250) has been abandoned , the signature bonus
balance of $125m should be recovered.”
The committee added that all outstanding signature bonuses should be
recovered “subject to the express provisions of the PSCs, from the winners of
the blocs who are in default of payment within a reasonable time but not
exceeding 60 days from the date of this report.”
It said, “At the expiration of that time frame, the award should be revoked
regardless of whether or not the blocs are either in development or production
as non-payment of signature bonus is a breach of the fundamental condition for
the award of the bloc. Such blocs should be returned to the basket.”
In addition, the panel directed that after recovering such funds, they should
be audited to confirm whether they conformed with the true value, “identify and
confirm any diverted payments; identify any acts of criminality and fraud in the
The report identified the 2004 bid rounds and marginal field awards as one of
the most-distorted. It said the officers charged with the duty of administering
the bids and the minister of petroleum “who was in fact, the (then) President,”
could not interface appropriately.
Stressing the anomaly of Obasanjo acting as a minister, it said, “The
political buffers, namely the Presidential Adviser and the Special Adviser,
Petroleum, interfaced between these officers and the minister.
“The officers did not have the opportunity of independent and or direct
ministerial confirmation of actions that distorted the system.”
And Ribadu drops the bombshell
By Jide Ajani, Political Editor
Posted to the Web: Saturday,
September 30, 2006
IT was James Kindleburger, an American economist who once wrote that nothing
could be more depressing to an individual’s well-being than to see a friend
making progress. He was quite right. However, what would the situation be were
they to be the in same shoes? That is the spirit in the land today just after
the release of the extensive work which had been carried out by the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which investigated petitions against 31 of
the 36 state governors.It was a report which was long in coming.
Snippets of it had been published. Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State had tasted
the bitter pills and the venom. Before Kalu’s tango with EFCC, led by Nuhu
Ribadu, its Executive Chairman, the commission had been on the neck of Joshua
Dariye, the Plateau State governor who took off from London and on whom a wanted
charge hangs. For a commission that has been so maligned, harassed and
embarrassed by a section of the Nigerian public, Ribadu’s mien for the about two
hours he spent in the Senate chambers on Wednesday may have indeed won him more
friends or foes.
For instance, against all expectations, most of the
governors considered very close to President Olusegun Obasanjo, who has made the
fight against corruption one of the poles on which one of the objectives of his
administration is hoisted, were named as either indicted or being investigated.
Prior to this period, there was the assumption that the EFCC could not, for
whatever reasons(s), step on the toes of any of these governors.
But it was a very confident Ribadu who stood before members of the senate on
Wednesday, reeling out names and exuding confidence, which some have even
described as bordering on arrogance. But Ribadu so aroused members of the Senate
that Tunde Ogbeha could not but request that the former furnish the National
Assembly with areas where he thinks the Commission can be strengthened through
legislation. That was the stuff which Ribadu generated with his presentation of
the Commission’s report on state governors.
31 governors were investigated based on petitions. Ribadu told the gathering
that the world’s biggest thief is a Nigerian. Of the 31 governors, six others
are still being investigated, while there is no petition against the rest. One
was cleared of allegations against him - Donald Duke. Those said to have cases
to answer are: Orji Kalu (Abia), Boni Haruna (Adamawa), Chris Ngige (former
governor, Anambra), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Ibrahim
Turaki (Jigawa), Mohammed Lawal (ex-governor, Kwara), Abubakar Audu
(ex-governor, Kogi), Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna), Abdullahi Adamu, Attahiru Bafarawa
and Jolly Nyame.
But to be fair, this was not the first time it would happen. Once Murtala
Ramat Muhammed, a general at that time, took over as Head of State, the 12 state
governors at that time, 1975, to be specific, were investigated. Only two,
Oluwole Rotimi and Mobolaji Johnson, were cleared. The ten others at that time
were found guilty of one offence or the other bordering on corruption. In fact,
refunds were made, assets were forfeited to the state and they were dismissed
from service because they were found to have used their offices to corruptly
It was to take the government of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida to return
the assets to the dismissed officers. For Ribadu, during the more than two hours
of testimony at the Senate, he claimed that the biggest fraudster ever in the
world was a Nigerian. He also made it clear that the activities of the
commission in three years were now giving the country a cleaner image. Giving a
run down of the states, Ribadu said three generations of Governor Kalu’s family
had been found to be involved in the looting of N35 billion of Abia government
funds, which, according to him, were siphoned to establish multinational
companies in aviation, pharmaceuticals, shipping and publishing. He listed the
governor’s mother, the governor and his daughter, brothers and personal aides in
the alleged illegal siphoning of the state’s resources.
He described Zamfara State as one of the worst cases facing the commission
with the governor of the state, Ahmad Sani, fingered as being involved in direct
stealing of state funds. He described the allegations against the governor and
the counter efforts by Governor Sani as a tragedy. Ribadu said instead of
showing contrition, the Zamfara governor resorted to blackmail as he quoted him
as reporting to the British Parliament that he (Sani) was being pursued by the
EFCC because he was set to be the next president.
All the implicated governors with the exception of Governor Ahmed Tinubu of
Lagos State were alleged to have perpetrated the offences through the siphoning
of their local government accounts. Governor Tinubu’s case, the EFCC boss said,
was, however, of an international dimension. He said the EFCC had refused to
dabble into the case of the Lagos governor. But what did Ribadu go to the Senate
The appearance of the EFCC boss was upon the Senate summon to acquaint the
Senate with the extent of its investigations into allegations of corruption made
against Governor Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State and officials of his
administration and other states where the commission was presently working.
Welcoming him to the Senate session, Thursday, the President of the Senate,
Senator Ken Nnamani said the EFCC was instituted to fight corruption in the
country and reminded him that the enabling Act required the Agency to
periodically submit its report to the National Assembly every September.
Will Fayose go like Alamieyeseigha,
By Bolade Omonijo
Posted to the Web: Saturday, September 30, 2006
If Governor Fayose is impeached, he would be the third in this Republic. The
first governor to have a bisssstter taste of the provisions of Section 188 of
the 1999 Constitution was the governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha
who was impeached last December. His removal was facilitated in similar manner
by the EFCC for not only allegedly corruptly enriching himself with state funds,
but jumping bail in the United kingdom.
On January 12, Governor Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo state was impeached after his
prolonged battle with the renowned political godfather in the state, Chief
Lamidi Adedibu. He was succeeded by his deputy, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala. While
the EFCC was not involved in that move, the same cannot be said of federal
interest and the roles played by the police. The former Oyo State governor is
still challenging his removal in court.
All the previous removals followed the same pattern. The Bayelsa lawmakers
were similarly invited to Lagos, later held in ‘protective custody’ in Port
Harcourt after their release from Lagos detention. It was from the Garden City
that they finally moved to Yenagoa to effect the change.
But as soon as Alamieyeseigha was booted out, charges against some state
lawmakers were dropped. That was also after the Speaker and the other
pro-Alamieyeseigha lawmakers had been dethroned.
In Oyo state, the initial 14 legislators who were sympathetic to Governor
Ladoja, including Hon. Adeolu Adeleke, the Speaker had since been edged out. The
deed was done with the suspension of six of the 32 legislators to ensure that
the 18 other lawmakers constituted two-thirds of membership of the House.
However, simultaneous impeachment of Governor and Deputy is unprecedented.
Since Alhaji Balarabe Musa was impeached in the Second Republic, governors had
always been succeeded by their deputies. In case a governor and his deputy are
removed, the Constitution provides that they be replaced temporarily by the
Speaker of the House. In Ekiti State, Hon. Friday Aderemi who is the Speaker had
earlier been charged along with all the other members with receiving
gratification from the state executive in a bid to get his erstwhile deputy
N-Delta oil cause of corruption —
By Emmanuel Ulayi
the Web: Friday, September 29, 2006
Abuja—A university lecturer and environment activist, has linked the
discovery of oil in the Niger Delta to the large scale corruption among the
nation's political office holders, recently uncovered by the Economic and
Financial Crime Commission, (EFCC).
Drawing the correlation during a
presentation at a World Forum on the Environment, organised by the Environmental
Rights Action, (ERA) and Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (FOE), Dr. Festus Iyayi,
Business Adiminstration lecturer at the Universty of Benin, who spoke on the
Political Economy of Oil and Gas Exploitation in Nigeria, lamented that
political office holders especially at the presidency and the governorship
levels are usually manipulated by the foreign powers who control the global oil
These office holders he averred usually indulge in large scale financial
embezzlement with the connivance of the super powers. Iyayi who alleged that the
Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative,(NEITI) was set up
primarily to protect the interest of America and Europe in order to guarantee
their constant supply of oil noted that the militancy experience in the Niger
Delta was the outcome of neglect and official corruption.
His words, "To look at oil and gas activities in Nigeria, we need to situate
them in relations to the global oil economy. The key characteristics of the
capitalist world economy and politics are to be found. Nigeria gained political
independence with the requisite economic independence.
This was the reason for our problem today. Being in charge of state apparatus
enabled the politicians to control the resources of the country and major
revenue was provided by oil and gas exploration. So those in charge of state
apparatus then turned to exploration of oil then resulting in the huge
corruption in leadership, which gave rise to the abject poverty prevalent in the
Niger Delta region and the attendant restiveness of the indigenes".
Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action, Mr. Nnimmo Bassey in his
welcome address identified oil and gas as the major cause of global conflicts
among nations, calling on the world powers to address the issues amicably rather
than fueling the conflicts.
He lamented the inability of Nigeria to provide
constant and uninterrupted supply of electric power despite the nation?s rating
as a major oil producing state noting that the government must address the issue
for any meaningful development to take place.
|PTDF: Senate 'll cleanse Presidency —NNAMANI * Inaugurates probe panel,
asks it to summon Obasanjo or Atiku if...
By Emma Aziken, Ayodele Adegbuyi, Tordue Salem & Habib
Posted to the Web: Thursday, October 05, 2006
ABUJA—SENATE President, Chief Ken Nnamani, declared, yesterday, that the
Senate would cleanse the Presidency of the stench of scandal, mischief and
mistrust which, according to him, is threatening to diminish the institution and
destroy the nation’s democracy.
Chief Nnamani who spoke while inaugurating the Senate ad-hoc committee to
probe the activities of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) said
the accusations and counter accusations between President Olusegun Obasanjo and
Vice President Atiku Abubakar constituted a moral credibility problem that must
The House of Representatives, on its part, vowed to resist any undue
influence by the Presidency in its consideration of the EFCC report on the PTDF
Chief Nnamani charged the Senate ad-hoc committee to leave no stone
unturned including summoning on the President and the Vice-President in the
effort to unmask the truth.
The inauguration of the 13-member ad-hoc committee was witnessed by a record
number of 31 Senators and was interjected by one moment of humour.
After giving the panel members the go ahead to invite the President or
the Vice-President, Chief Nnamani, aside, told the panel members: “You are on
Chairman of the probe panel, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) had earlier
spoken of the committee’s determination to concern itself only with facts and
not to be moved by inclinations or tendencies in the course of the committee’s
Underpinning the Senate’s resolve to ensure transparency in the operations of
the committee, Senator David Brigidi, chairman of the Senate Committee on Down
Stream Petroleum was dropped from the probe panel on account of the committee’s
recent oversight activities at the PTDF.
In his speech entitled: “Truth, justice and fairness will save our
democracy,” Chief Nnamani said: “It is no longer a secret that our democracy is
threatened by a moral credibility problem. Democratic governance is a trust,
which binds the citizens and their leaders in an unbroken chain of mutuality and
dependence. The citizens expect candour and good faith from the leaders. The
leaders on their part express their obligation to serve the people’s interests
at all times. When this social compact is broken or stressed, the foundations of
the legitimacy of the state tremble. At such period, the society needs to
undergo a restoration of balance. Truth is what restores the balance of societal
“I inaugurate with a sense of history this special committee of the Senate
set up to comprehensively investigate the activities of the Petroleum Technology
Development Fund (PTDF) in the light of the accusation of gross misconduct
levelled at the Vice President and his rebuttal and cross-accusation against the
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. These accusations have the
capacity to diminish the moral credibility of the Presidency. The Presidency is
not an individual. It is an institution. It is an institution that symbolises
the strength and dignity of Nigerian people. We cannot allow this institution to
be degraded and demystified.
“In constituting this special committee, the Senate acted in the best
traditions of statesmanship. We carry the burden of history to ensure that we
reposition the Presidency in the eyes of Nigerians. We carry a burden to get to
the root of the allegation of misconduct and corruption in order to clear the
debris and allow the light of truth shine from the hallowed chamber of
“Today, I am constrained to remind my colleagues that every Nigerian
household, in fact, the citizens of the country now look upon this Senate to
rise to the challenges of statesmanship and conduct a thorough, fair and just
investigation of the activities of PTDF and determine who did what and
“Every Nigerian citizen trusts that we, the elected representatives of the
people, will shun any possible pecuniary considerations and any other
self-serving inducements and dig deep for the truth. Every Nigerian places faith
in this committee to separate truth from falsehood and the innocent from the
“I need not remind members of the committee of its grave responsibility and
the determination of the Senate to execute its constitutional responsibility
with dignity, justice and equity. We have set a high mark of discipline and
patriotism in similar situations of constitutional crisis. The Nigeria people
now expect honour, dignity, truth and courage from us. We cannot fail the people
at this critical moment. We cannot fail Nigeria at this period of despair.
“I charge the committee to exercise the full complement of legislative power
in conducting the investigation. It should not hesitate to invite any person
whose testimony is required. It should examine every document that could guide
it to the truth. It should not close its eyes to uncomfortable and inconvenient
Reps vow to shun interference
And at a press conference in Abuja, the House of Representatives through its
chief spokesperson, Mrs. Abike Dabiri, vowed that the House would not shirk its
responsibilities in considering the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC) report on the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF)
“The House would take up the issue of PTDF. The Senate has already taken up
the matter, and it is looking into it. And you know the Senate cannot decide on
the report without the concurrence of the House of Representatives,” she