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Diezani: I never stole one kobo from oil money

Diezani: I never stole one kobo from oil money
June 07
09:54 2015
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Diezani Alison-Madueke says she never stole as minister of petroleum resources, contrary to popular impression about her.

In an interview with THISDAY, she said she would go into her grave knowing that she never touched any money that belonged to Nigeria throughout her tenure.

There were several corruption allegations against her, notably the “missing” $20 billion oil money and deals entered into by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the exploration arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

She said: “Did we make mistakes? There would always be mistakes. People would always make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes and there is no question about that. Have we learnt from our mistakes? Of course we have. But please do not say I stole $20 billion or $18.5 billion because I did not at any point in time.

“And if NNPC misappropriated funds or so, they have the entire explanation and more forensic audit should be done to determine how and why. But people should not make damaging accusations which have nothing to do with an individual. At no point did I steal from the Nigerian state.

“In fact, the first mantra I had from the time I came in was that I will never touch anything that has to do with the Federation Account and I never did and I will take that to my grave. So I will suggest that this issue of $20 billion or $18 billion be dropped because that is the major problem I had with my job.

“I was accused of unsavoury things, but which were actually accusations against NNPC and the audit was deployed to clarify all these things. So let us deal with the issues. I have never gone around accusing people of doing this or that, I have always stuck with the issues even when I was the most abused minister, I was professional, I stuck to the issues and responded only to the issues.”

The former minister also denied allegations she spent N10 billion on jet charters and explained why she went to court to stop a probe by the house of representatives.

She said: “The reason that I went to court was simple. First of all, nobody can lease a jet for N10 billion over a period. You can buy three jets for N10 billion. So that was obviously a nonsensical argument and I did not lease any jet. The NNPC leases jets and NNPC leased those jets to the best of my knowledge because at that point in time, they had no official planes.

“As an oil and gas ministry, we have purview over everything and it was actually very wrong that we had to borrow planes from these multinationals whom we were supposed to oversight. So over the years, I am talking about over the last 15 or 20 years, NNPC had either owned, leased or borrowed, both jets and helicopters. That was the case when I came in.

“Yes, we had a very old jet which nobody was going to touch and another jet had just been bought by late Alhaji Lukman just before he left, a Hawker. Unfortunately, the moment it came, because it had been sitting unused for over a year it became a problem. In fact, NNPC was advised to sell it because it was a problematic model and had sat unused for a long period. They were advised to sell it, but they didn’t sell it. Then after a year of its purchase, it crash-landed in Osubi and we had to actually give it out for spare parts to the National Security Adviser’s office at the end of the day.

“It was during this period that they leased the private jets for executive movement and operations in general, which we also used, as had always been the case. In that respect, the reason for the leasing and the amount involved are all available and I am sure the NNPC would be willing to give that information to whoever wants to look at them for public records. So again, it was a fabrication that came out from nowhere and was thrown at us as if suddenly out of the blues and for the first time in history, the NNPC was leasing jets or helicopters.”

She said they were not for personal use but for “executive movement”.

“I am saying just like the $20 billion, you find something, you throw it on the person to feel smart or to make it look as if the person is junketing all over the place or as if nobody had done that before in the annals of the NNPC. Of course we were not junketing all over the place.

“To be very honest, if they had never done that contract to lease the jet, we would have been hiring at a higher cost and which probably would have caused less of an issue. But to be frank, the lease that was put in place, to the best of my knowledge, was done with a company which even Shell and others have been using. So there was a known company with a very good track record and was being used in the industry by other multinationals,” she told the newspaper.

Along with Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, a professor and former minister of health, Alison-Madueke holds the record of the longest-serving minister in Nigeria’s history.

She was appointed minister of transportation (comprising works, aviation and railways) in 2007, moved to solid minerals in 2009 and took over petroleum resources in 2010 until 2015.

Read more at THISDAY

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11 Comments

  1. JD
    JD June 07, 11:43

    She might not have stolen a kobo but from her incoherent narrative she has alot to explain.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Simon
    Simon June 07, 14:11

    Madam ruffled feathers when she started to move for change and to question status quo because she wanted to stem the wave of corruption. She was shouted down and then labeled the thief! This certainly looks like a blood-sport and like all sporting activity it will come to an end and you will be the winner

    Reply to this comment
  3. Babawande
    Babawande June 07, 18:35

    Well spoken madam! You have addressed many of the irrational comments in the press. How can 1 person steal $20bn in this day and age? It is impossible! After all the forensics, probes and committees all declaring nothing is stolen yet the unscrupulous entities have tried to persist. This will go a long way to shut their waging tongues

    Reply to this comment
  4. Papy
    Papy June 08, 07:37

    Your comment..Madam, your responses have demonstrated high sense of responsibility and accountability but too late. you should have made this known while the case was hot. Although, I went through the forensic report and never see such. its a matter of time, history will judge and repeats itself.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Ralph
    Ralph June 08, 09:22

    I found it difficult to believe that madam stole any money. Though this explanation came very late but we all should know that women are better resource managers than men..she is unlikely to have the hearth to steal 20b.

    Reply to this comment
    • UZO J
      UZO J June 08, 12:15

      I am particularly unimpressed by Babawande’s misleading solidarity with madam minister. You must have read a different audit report. It is in the public domain that the audit report submitted first: that at least $1.4billion was not accounted for. Second: critical documents, such as Bank statements were not made available for comprehensive check. Why have we remained gullible citizens and unnecessary praise singers.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Oduche Azih
    Oduche Azih June 08, 21:46

    NNPC – Petroleum Ministry: Allison-Madueke’s sing song.

    Reading the answers given by former petroleum minister Allison-Madueke to questions put to her by Ms Ijeoma Nwogwugwu of Thisday newspapers was extremely tedious. It was as if she made every effort to use up the two or so hours which she so “graciously” allotted to the interview now that she has so much time on her hands.

    I believe that I know Ms Nwogwugwu enough having seriously decided to follow her scholarly interventions starting from 2007 the eve of OBJ imposition of President Yar’Adua on us. I would be damned if Mrs Allison-Madueke, outside of matters already common knowledge, convinced her or any of her readers about anything else. I dare say that very few of us have put much stock on this belated effort from an otherwise aloof minister to meet the public halfway to address its concerns.

    Who told the minister that the issue of gas gathering, gas monetisation, unassociated gasfield and gas pipeline infrastructure development, had any direct bearing on President Obasanjo’s NIPP project? One tragic series of omissions simply collided with a new one. That’s the typical story of failed governance and service delivery in our unfortunate country.

    In 1982 I had stepped into the Ekpan offices of the new Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) to discuss a wide range of issues with the management. Before long, I had told the Managing Director (I think) that the NGC was a misnomer since it owned no gas assets, just the pipelines to Lagos. In over 30years, we have hardly moved one single step from that sad situation.
    In my widely published article “Gas to Power Conundrum,” I had alluded to my public exchange with a former GMD of the NNPC, Chief Chamberlain Oyibo, on the need to immediately address the establishment of a national gas pipeline network/grid. For a man with his background not to have seen what I saw then remains a mystery. And now the otherwise wordly-wise operators of our energy sector have proved unable or unwilling to plan for the gas supply pipelines to the new NIPP plants and others. Meanwhile the nation is being sold the dummy that the problem just sprang on them by surprise. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I often remind anybody who cares to listen that outside of Lagos, Kano is the next major industrial centre in Nigeria. I could not fathom why as far back as 1982 natural gas was not being piped to Kano and by the same token to Minna, Abuja, Kaduna, Zaria, Sokoto and Maiduguri.

    Gas is almost synonymous with electric power. The people at OBJ’s NIPP certainly did not invent the concept. However they deliberately undermined their own undertaking by refusing to do their homework.

    It is a no-brainer that the valiant efforts of companies like Ashaka Cement to stay in production over the years in Gombe State would have been a much simpler proposition if they had natural gas supply.

    For the above reasons I am deeply incensed by the gloating by Mrs Allison-Madueke that the NIPP-NNPC activities under her watch successfully laid a paltry 500km of gas pipelines. That comes to less than 1.5km/week over the eight years of the Yar’Adua-Jonathan administration. I will never cease wondering if actually we are in any hurry as a nation. Will Mrs Madueke please check what the Chinese, Brazilians or the Indonesians achieve in a good month or quarter. Her projections going into 2018 are in no way impressive.

    In conjunction with her boss and many subordinates, the former petroleum minister had failed woefully to provide reliable service to Nigerians. This is beyond dispute. With this background one fails to get the exact point in the very long dribble in the interview where the Mrs Madueke strived to justify her refusal to co-operate with the legislators who had attempted to probe the purported leasing of aircraft by the minister. For good or ill, our “elected” representatives reserve the right to investigate any matter under the sun. That includes what our president had for breakfast especially since we are footing the bill. To prevent our reps from doing their job is a mark of lawlessness and crass irresponsibility. What revelations she belatedly made to Thisday’s Ms Nwogwugwu could and should have been made to the proper authorities in a timely manner, on demand and at the appropriate forum. Outside of her media handlers and immediate family, Mrs Madueke cannot expect sympathy from the citizenry.

    It would be counterproductive to try to debunk many of the issues raised by the former minister in this patently self-serving interview. Many of the conclusions of observers like this writer were arrived at over a long period of time. It is highly unlikely that a hitherto reticent and unapproachable minister of a badly-run government agency will suddenly come up with new “facts” for whitewashing her tenure ten days after leaving office. Attempy to engage her point by point, issue by issue, will only aid to keep her in the public eye and may be unwittingly be deployed in aid of a revisionist script of her (dis)service.

    As a numbers person, I cannot without facts malign the ex-minister with any direct accusation of theft be it $10b or $20b. However like very many Nigerians, having dealt with NNPC and its subsidiaries, I know enough to conclude that the place is rotten through and through. Anytime we seem to forget or are in doubt, the NNPC, synonymous with the oil & gas sector, provides us with one more mind-boggling scandal. Mrs Allison-Madueke can claim to be a saint, even a Mother Theresa, but the house from which she has just been ejected reeks like an abandoned mortuary.

    Oduche Azih

    Reply to this comment
  7. Bola-Luke
    Bola-Luke June 08, 21:47

    Seems madam Minister has paid people to rally support for her. For the strange support, can you say Amen to this prayer if believe madam Allisson Madueke is clean. May the do to you what Allisson Maduake has done to Nigeria.
    I wonder why you are running from pillar to post if you have done the right thing. When you were in power, nobody can call you to order. Not even NA & EFCC

    Reply to this comment
  8. bossinie
    bossinie June 09, 20:53

    It is rather belated to suddenly feel accountable to Nigerians after you are no longer serving them,i really wonder why?
    While you were minister you resisted every move to legally make you accountable even when it will only cost you less than 2hours to do so if you wanted to.You know your explanations to me are those of a dethroned ‘demi-god’ who suddenly realized she is human afterall after being demistified by the same people who hitherto worshipped her or idolized her.
    How do you try to explain-away such magnitude of accusations of corruption rather than tender evidence to the contrary? How can you explain away over N10B spent for logistics under your watch? You attempt to pass the buck to NNPC as though they are autonomous in operation without control influence from your ministry? You expain that away as monies spent for exucutive movements, i ask you who is the head of that executive arm? You ofcourse!! You were asked why you got a restraining order for your arrest by EFCC ect. you expained that away by digressing into other issues got yourself & some unfortunate readers lost without any conclusive explanation.
    It is said that a clear conscience fears no accusation(s).You claim you never stole a kobo but your actions tell otherwise.Before i end my comment permit me to ask you three(3) questions and if you can answer them truthfully stating yes/no and avoiding ambiguos explanations then you might be on the path of vindication.
    (1)Did you at any time receive any form of gratification for any contract(s)influenced by your position as minister?
    (2)Did you at any time enjoy any expenditure that was in excess of the approved allocation or failed to save cost for any expenditure(s) even though you had the capacity to do so?
    (3)You claimed NNPC made mistakes but failed to tell us what kind of mistakes they were.I wonder whose signature(s) was on the documents that endorsed those mistakes? Lets assume they were truly genuine mistakes how come you never admitted to them while you were minister and how come they repeated these mistakes over and over again for your 5years as minister?
    From little experience as a gifted psycologist i strongly believe you are hidding something and you are yet to tell the whole truth.
    But i dare say it is only a matter of time we will know all you have refused to tell.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Awoblooo
    Awoblooo June 12, 08:55

    Good morning Mrs Minister, you may be wrong by your statements because before your appointment as a minister many were appointed but why shouldn’t they be accused so laud popular in term fraudulence like you. I believe time shall come the truth must prevail.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Mezyn
    Mezyn June 14, 13:14

    You got it right Sir. We may not be able to accuse her of stealing an ascertained sum of money neither can we quantify her service to the nation as petroleum minister however I’d like to know her motive for instituting d crude for refined products contracts & who are the promoters of the benefitting companies? Is she innocent of that too?

    Reply to this comment

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