The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe a report published in some media platforms that the NNPC erred in paying “gratuity in billions” to the Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari and the Chief Financial Officer, Umar Ajiya.
There had been some reports published in some online media platforms that alleged inappropriateness of the disengagement of Kyari and Ajiya from the services of the old Corporation and their subsequent appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari to commence a new tenure as Group CEO and CFO in the new NNPC Limited.
Recall that the NNPCL had clarified the misrepresentation by the publications based on the provisions of Section 59(3), which nullified previous appointments after the successful transition of the defunct NNPC to the commercially driven National Energy Company, the NNPC Limited.
Consequently, the EFCC has on the invitation of the NNPC Ltd scheduled to commence an investigation on the payment, by the NNPCL to Kyari and Ajayi, on Wednesday.
The commission has also requested that Kyari avail the company’s Chief Officer (Human Capital) and the Chief Financial Officer for an interview on the same day.
“They will interact with the Commission’s head of Foreign Exchange Malpractices Section on a wide range of issues connected with the alleged payment of gratuities,” the EFCC’s Director of Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkol said on Tuesday.
During the interview, the duo is expected to present “Certified True Copies of entitlements and retirement benefits of directors and above; evidence of payments of gratuities to the Group Managing Director, Director Accounts or any other director of the company”.
Two weeks ago, the NNPCL had taken legal action against the same newspaper after the report.
In a statement, the NNPC recalled the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act and the successful transition of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to a commercially driven National Energy Company, the NNPC Limited.
The National Oil Company said the PIA 2021, had in addition to the creation of NNPC limited made clear and unambiguous provisions relating to Governance, Administration, and the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Board of Directors by the President.
The statement reads in part, “The PIA 2021 is deliberate about the long term sustainability of the 20 years long petroleum industry reform that climaxed in the creation of NNPC Limited as a commercially driven National Energy Company, with focus on sustainable value creation.
“Pursuant to the provisions of the Act, appointment of the CEO and CFO of NNPC Limited by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is on the basis of distinct terms and conditions of Service including tenure, employment benefits and termination.
“The appointment of CEO and CFO is not a career posting as erroneously presented.
“Specifically, section 59(3) of the PIA 2021 has clearly stipulated the conditions to be considered in appointing the CEO and CFO of NNPC Limited without recourse to previous employment ranks in the Corporation. The previous rank of GMD or GED F&A was therefore not a consideration in the appointment of the CEO or CFO of NNPC Limited.
“Consequently, by virtue of the appointments of Mallam Mele Kyari and Mr. Umar Ajiya as NNPC Limited Group CEO and CFO respectively by Mr President for a tenure of five years each with effect from 16 September 2021 has ended their employment with the Corporation and are thus entitled to their terminal benefits in respect thereof.”
The statement stated further that based on the provisions of the Act, the new tenured roles they assumed with NNPC Ltd cannot be regarded as continuance of their previous positions in the defunct Corporation.
It added, “For further clarity on the misrepresentation of facts by Sahara Reporters, the Circular issued by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, dated 27 July 2009, has explicitly stated that appointments as Chief Executives of Government-Owned Companies are “tenured appointments”, and in respect of such tenured appointments, career officers who wish to take up such appointments shall retire from service, in order to run their tenure uninterrupted.
“The circular recognises a distinction between a tenured appointment to serve as Chief Executive of a government-owned company, as distinct from a career office.
“Public service rules require termination of any fixed career appointment to take up a tenured role.
“It is therefore our belief that the informed general public will disregard the misinformation and misrepresentation of facts.
“NNPC compensation does not pay gratuity into billions and we are a compliant organisation that is committed to delivering greater value to Nigerians in strict compliance with extant laws and circulars.”
The statement said the Group CEO and the CFO have demonstrated patriotism by ending their career appointments with the Corporation to serve the nation on five years tenured appointment in NNPC Limited.
“The general public is therefore advised to disregard the spurious and malicious publications while the company will take necessary legal steps to seek redress,” the statement concluded.