President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday sent a notice to corrupt Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) officials – get set for trial.
Buhari, who spoke in the United States; stressed the need to sanitise the oil industry and free it from shady deals.
He said those responsible for the corruption in the oil giant firm will soon be prosecuted.
The President spoke in New York during a meeting with President Xi Jinping of China on the sidelines of the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN).
He said the first step in this direction had already been taken, with the appointment of a new management for the NNPC and its subsequent reorganisation.
The President did not indicate how soon the prosecution would start but many contracts entered into by the Dr. Goodluck Jonathan administration have been cancelled for being shady.
Buhari praised President Xi for China’s assistance to Nigeria to curb the theft of crude oil.
He applauded China’s interception of a shipload of crude oil stolen from Nigeria, which was to be sold and the proceeds paid into private accounts.
“We know your stand on corruption and we are grateful. Your continued cooperation in curbing oil theft from Nigeria will be appreciated, ” he said.
Buhari told his Chinese counterpart that under his leadership, the military had been re-trained and re-equipped and was making steady gains in the fight against Boko Haram.
President Xi said China was involved in the development of Nigeria in diverse areas, such as construction of railways, airports, agriculture, and the Mambilla Hydro-power project, among others.
He promised that China will increase its investment in Nigeria’s agricultural sector to boost food security.
Xi also promised that his country will invest in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry and assist in the development of human resources.
More heads will roll in the NNPC as part of the ongoing transformation, Group Managing Director Dr Ibe Kachikwu said at the weekend.
Kachikwu said: “I have introduced the three elements I call the three Ps – people, process and performance. The people aspect is very key. Individuals who are aged or affected in a wrong that impacted the corporation will obviously be let out. There is no business in the world for you to keep doing wrong things and keep progressing. The only way you can do that obviously is that your performance modelling and evaluation must be very strong.
“Right now in the system, I will like to see our human resources department doing a better job of evaluating people’s performance every year. Salary increase will be done for those who scale the hurdle. One of the things I have started doing is that we will be doing a weekly report card. The report card takes an issue every week and basically televised out to every staff and it runs on their television, which will be the first thing to turn on to see every Monday. It will happen every week from now till December and we are dealing with all manner of issues- from performance to behavioural norms, to where we are headed.”
The NNPC chief said the idea was to carry everybody along because “in doing such a restructuring, you ensure everyone is able to determine one’s performance, and in doing so, people will know when they lost their tab”.
Kachikwu also stated that as part of the transparency efforts, he would bring back the auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCooper, that just partially audited the NNPC to conduct a full audit. He said: “The other aspect of transparency is how we deal with the accounting issues. We are doing a couple of things in this direction. First we are bringing back the auditors who gave the partial audit to come and do a full audit.
“The issue is that they didn’t get all the data, and we will give them all the data this time. I need to know the true state of all the finances of the corporation and statement of funds up to this day. Our accounts and finances were last audited in 2010. They would be audited and drawn currently to 2015, that is something I hope I will achieve before December.
“What we know is that whether the account or performance is good or bad is secondary. But at least we know what the state gets and know what it is you want to work on. We are doing that and the President is very supportive of that.”
Kachikwu noted that through the contracts that he cancelled and replaced with new models, including the delivery of crude oil to the refineries, the Offshore Processing Agreements (OPA) and the crude, for – product exchange agreement (SWAP), he has been able to save an average of over $150 million a month for the nation.