VENTURES AFRICA – Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan has approved the replacement of top executives of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). As contained in a statement issued by the presidency on Tuesday, those affected include the corporation’s managing director and three other senior directors
According to the statement, the action was taken to strengthen the nation’s ongoing reforms. It further stated that the re-composition of the executive management team of the NNPC is in order to attain greater transparency and accountability.
Consequently, the incumbent Managing Director Austen Oniwon, the Finance and Accounts Director Michael Arokodare, Refining Director Philip Chukwu and Engineering Director Billy Agha have all been retired. The presidency has also approved the appointment of Andrew Yakubu, a chemical engineer as the corporation’s new Managing Director.
Before his appointment, Andrew Yakubu has held several positions at the corporation, including executive director of exploration and production.
It would be recalled that since January protests over hike in fuel prices, public anger concerning corruption, misappropriation and waste of Nigeria’s oil wealth had placed President Jonathan under intense pressure to clean up Africa’s biggest energy sector.
Prior to the shake-up in the NNPC, various reports and audits have noted widespread corruption within the corporation. In 2011, corruption watch agency, Transparency International and Revenue Watch named NNPC as the least transparent oil company in the world.
But in an interview with Reuters in February, Oniwon said that corruption in NNPC was “in the imagination of some people”.
A recent controversial parliamentary report uncovered a $6.8 billion fraud within the fuel subsidy – a scheme which is partly run by NNPC. According to the parliamentarians, NNPC is ultimate, accountable to no one.
According to the report of the parliament, NNPC owed the government 704 billion naira ($4.33 billion) for subsidy violations and that it owed oil traders, including Trafigura, $3.5 billion in unpaid bills.