Alleged Corruption: 50 CSOs indict, demand Kyari’s sack, prosecution within 7 days

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A coalition of 50 Civil Society Organisations, CSOs under the auspices the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, yesterday, indicted and demanded for the sack and prosecution of the Group Chief Executive Officer, GCEO, Nigeria National Petroleum Limited, NNPCL, Engr Mele Kyari, within 7 days over alleged infractions and corruption.

The CSOs gave the 7-day ultimatum in a petition addressed to Kyari, alleging his “misguided actions”, saying his alleged misconduct and abuse of office “undermine President Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda.”

The petition reads in part: “We, the members of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room stand united to express our concern over the direction of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) under your watch as its Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Mallam Mele Kyari.

“It is abysmal and disturbing for the NNPC Limited to become an epicenter of controversy due to the misguided actions of Malam Mele Kyari, which not only undermine President Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda but also cast a shadow on the credibility of the National oil company.

“We write today to demand your immediate resignation from office as GCEO of NNPC Limited due to your deficiency in character required of your office and in a government that promises to renew the Hope of Nigerians.

“We deeply express our shock over this high level of corruption by you even when you know that our dear beloved President Tinubu is putting in efforts to salvage the country from its current economic quagmire. A man completely clothed in the garment of corruption has no place in the government of President Tinubu hence our insistence that you should immediately resign within 7 days.

“We know the struggle and pain we went through for him during the electioneering campaign and we want a prosperous reign under his leadership devoid of corrupt practices by his appointees.

“Our demand for your sack arises from the alleged irregularities and corruption in the acquisition of OVH Energy Marketing by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) under your (Kyari) watch as the GCEO.

“The shoddy acquisition deal between you Mele Kyari-led NNPCL management & NNPCL retail group and the company, Nueoil and OVH Energy is alleged to have cost hundreds of billions of Naira caused by alleged over bloated assets with the merger of the acquired company not yet formalised.

“You, NNPCL GCEO, Mele Kyari, had told the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee that the acquisition of OVH Energy was properly done and it gave the NNPCL over 30 per cent control of the downstream sector with a profit of N18.4 billion in the first quarter of 2023, a position which has been disputed by industry players as not backed by any documentary evidence.

“It was gathered that the National oil company paid cash amounting to over $325.09 million (N140.559 billion) for the acquisition of Oando-branded retail stations and a reception jetty in Apapa, among other facilities with allegation trailing the acquisition that some of the acquired assets are alleged not to have belonged fully to OVH or licensed.

“The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room therefore calls on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take decisive action to contain your excesses as the GCEO of NNPC Limited.

“Therefore, we are issuing a 7-day ultimatum to you, the GCEO of NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, to resign from office or else we will storm the NNPC headquarters with over 500 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to protest against you.

“President Tinubu has indeed distinguished himself as a man who truly loves Nigeria, his continued trips across the world to woo international investors to Nigeria cannot work with persons like Mele Kyari and his cohorts who due to their selfishness have continued to destroy the good image of our dear Nation with your corrupt ways.

Meanwhile, according to the petitioners, a reliable online media organisation had reported that NNPC Ltd in October 2022 announced the acquisition of OVH Energy Marketing Limited’s downstream assets. By this acquisition, OVH Energy would be merged with NNPC Retail, a subsidiary of NNPC Ltd.

The assets acquired from the company, which operates Oando filling stations, also include a reception jetty with 240,000 metric tonnes monthly capacity and eight liquefied petroleum gas plants, three lube blending plants, three aviation depots, and 12 warehouses.

But in June 2023, its investigation on the acquisition exposed the secret deals and the complicated ownership structure that left managerial control of NNPC Retail in the hands of OVH Energy Marketing.

The report also exposed how OVH Energy Marketing only had about 94 stations and how over 100 stations were leased.

In addition, the report highlighted how Mr Stokman, an expatriate and former Chief Executive Officer, CEO, OVH Energy, emerged as the new Managing Director of NNPC Retail, a development that further compounded the structure of NNPC Retail.

The report was submitted by the Hon Hassan Nalabraba-led ad hoc committee investigating the controversial acquisition of OVH Energy Marketing Limited’s downstream assets by NNPC Limited after the panel presented a report many lawmakers described as “suspicious and shabby.”

The report was denied by members of the committee, who accused their chairman of failing to carry out a proper investigation as directed by the House but produced a report not signed by any member of the committee.

Therefore, the committee, tasked with investigating the controversial deal, was relieved of its duties during the consideration of the report on the investigation. The task was subsequently transferred to the House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) for a fresh investigation.