The controversy surrounding the alleged $1.56billion loan threatening to engulf the National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) took a new twist yesterday when the minister for Petroleum Resources, Mrs Deizani Allison Madueke, and the group managing director, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, yesterday claimed? that the facility was not for loan but a forward sales arrangement meant to offset NNPC’s liabilities.
They revealed this at the public hearing of the Joint Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Aids, Loan and Debt Management and Justice yesterday.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, however, declared that the loan process was unconstitutional.
Represented by the chief whip of the House, Hon Ishiaka? Bawa, Tambuwal said, while declaring the hearing open, that the proposed $1.56 loan was neither captured in the 2013-2015 Medium Term Framework, nor the 2013 budget.
He, however, stressed that “the public hearing is not meant to witch-hunt individuals or organisations but rather to entrench the culture of transparency that will enable an even playing ground for stakeholders.”
Tambuwal made the statement while declaring open the public hearing on the said loan by the House Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream), Aids, Loans and Debt Management and Justice.
Meanwhile, the director-general of the Debt Management Office, (DMO), Mr Abraham Nwankwo, disclosed at the meeting that the DMO was not in the know of any loan application by the NNPC and could, therefore, not make any presentation on the matter.
He informed a bewildered committee “that there are no records of loan application made by the NNPC.”
But the NNPC, which maintained no loan was being taken by the company, attributed the liabilities, saying that the facility was needed to offset major challenges such as oil theft, demurrage charges and persistent insecurity resulting from sabotage of its various critical facilities nationwide.