Reps condemn non-payment of $565m outstanding signature bonuses
• House summons Alison Madueke, Kachikwu, Daukoru, Kupolokun
The House of Representatives yesterday condemned the non-payment of $565,870,250 being outstanding of signature bonuses between 2005 and 2007.
The Gideon Gwani-led Committee investigating the allocation of on oil prospecting licences (OPLs) and oil mining leases (OMLs) expressed displeasure over various infractions in the allocation of oil blocs identity of the beneficiaries/winners of the oil blocs and indiscriminate transfer of oil blocs to companies that did not participate in the award process.
Sunday Babalola, Head, Basinal Assessment & Lease Administration, who spoke on behalf of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) denied knowledge of the winners of the oil blocs, adding there were plans to conduct search at Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on the true identity of some of the beneficiaries.
Chairman House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) Victor Nwokolo, wondered why there was a sudden re-allocation of oil blocs worth $210 million, which were cancelled through presidential directive for paying $21 million, and then relocated to Stallion Global after payment of $55 million without following due process.
He thereby queried the unilateral decision of DPR to usurp the presidential directive for the cancellation of 25 oil blocs not fully paid for and unpaid for as contained in a letter dated 20th January 2006.
Gwani remarked that the reallocated oil blocs which were paid for after the cancellation include: OPL 276 and 283, OPL 236 (Oando), OPL 282 (NAOC), OPL 315 but later paid $172.8 million out of $180 million, OPL 135 (Agip), OPL 280 (Stallion Global) among others.
Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Hajia Jemila Suara, who expressed shock over the development, assured that necessary measures would be put in place to entrench accountability and transparency in the oil blocs’ allocation.
The Committee thereby summoned Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources; Diezani Allison-Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum Resources and King Edmund Daukoru of Nembe Kingdom to explain their role in the allocation of oil blocs.
Former NNPC group managing director of the NNPC Kupolokun, who appeared before the lawmakers decried the arbitrary powers conferred on the Minister to adopt discretionary powers in the allocation of oil blocs.
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