- As Consultant sues govs, demands N53.6bn fee over Paris Club loan refund
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has vowed to achieve full recovery of the outstanding crude swap under-deliveries from three companies, Aiteo Energy Resources, Televaras Group of Companies and Ontario Oil and Gas Limited.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, said so far, the Corporation has recovered $208 million from Aiteo and Televaras. Baru, who was represented by Mr. Saidu Mohammed, Chief Operating Officer, Gas and Power, NNPC, said the Corporation is currently working hard to recover $103 million from Ontario.
Baru further stated that the NNPC has taken far-reaching? measures to recover N14 billion, being 130 million litres of missing Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, stored in the facilities of some depot owners.
According to Baru, one of these operators has fully complied by returning the expropriated volumes of oil products, adding that it is working with security agencies to recover about N11 billion from the second operator.
He also appealed to vandals to desist from the destruction of its facilities, stating that the act poses serious threat to economy of the country, among others. He stated: “On security challenges, we are setting up an all-advisory security council involving critical stakeholders which include security agencies, Niger Delta youths and leaders, international oil companies, among others, to complement the Federal Government’s efforts towards addressing host communities agitations as well as ensuring lasting peace in the region.
For the umpteenth time, we want to passionately appeal to those behind indiscriminate acts of infrastructure vandalism to put an end forthwith to these despicable acts which are a great threat to the economy, eco-system and energy security.
Baru commended the media for its role in combating crude oil theft and vandalisation, while he called for further support from the media in its quest to work with relevant stakeholders towards safeguarding the nation’s oil and gas facilities.
In the meantime, one of the consultants in the payment of the Paris Club loan refund to the states has sued the 36 state governors in his bid to compel them to pay him $176m or the naira equivalent of N53.6bn (at official N305/dollar) as his consultancy fee.
The consultant, Ned Nwoko, accused the governors and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum of paying those he described as phoney consultants, The PUNCH learnt on Monday.
Nwoko had initially written to the NGF to demand the payment of the fee as agreed between his firm and the states.
In his statement of claims, he said, “Despite repeated demands, the defendants have failed or refused or neglected to pay to me the sums due to me for the services rendered.
“That I have not been paid the sums due and payable to me by the state governments and that the defendants made payment of the said sum to some phoney and sham consultants.”
He stated in the statement of claim, which was sighted by our correspondent, that he was “ready and willing to give an undertaking as to damages.”
Nwoko argued that instead of “paying to me the sums due and payable to me for the legal and consultancy services rendered, which led to the realisation of the said release and payment (of the Paris Club refund),” the NGF, governors, Ministry of Finance “caused part of the said money released for legal and consultancy fees to be paid to phoney and sham consultants, who did not render any consultancy and legal services to the state governments.
The PUNCH learnt on Sunday that Ned Nwoko Solicitors, also asked that his firm be paid $71,936,881.36 and N21,940,748,814.30 by 15 states.
Nwoko’s demand was one of the several letters received by the NGF secretariat from consultants, who claimed to have been engaged by the state governments.
It was learnt that the 36 governors of the federation were becoming worried as the number of consultants demanding certain percentage of the Paris Club loan refund continued to increase.
Investigations by our correspondent showed that many of the consultants had sent their letters to the governors while others routed theirs through the national secretariat of the NGF.
The demands were later sent to the NGF.
All the governors, in their letters to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had asked that five per cent of the loan refund to their states be deducted and paid to the NGF directly.
The majority of the letters were titled, ‘Re: Over-deduction on Paris and London Clubs loans on the accounts of state and local governments (1995-2002)’.
A letter from one of the governors requested the minister to “deduct the payment of five per cent consultants’ fee at source from states’ entitlement and paid directly into the NGF secretariat account provided below to defray related consulting and incidental expenses.”
The letters also listed the accounts which the money was to be paid into.
Sources close to the governors said some of the consultants were, however, asking for what was described as a ridiculous amount from the governors.
Documents obtained by our correspondent indicated that some of these states agreed to pay the consultants between 10 to 20 per cent of the money to be recovered by them from their creditors.
Some of the states that signed agreements to pay 10 per cent to their consultants are Abia, Kogi, Adamawa, Taraba, Delta and Zamfara.
While Ondo State signed to pay 12 per cent, states like Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, Niger signed to pay 15 per cent.
Bayelsa, Oyo and Edo states agreed to pay 20 per cent to their consultants.
Vanguard with additional report from Punch