SERAP in an open letter to President Buhari asked him to refer the allegations of corruption and abuse of office against Baru to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission for investigation.
The group further said the NNPC boss should face prosecution “if there was relevant and sufficient admissible evidence” against him.
SERAP was reacting to the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources and the immediate past GMD of NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, allegation in a letter titled, ‘Re: Matters of insubordination and lack of adherence to due process by the GMD NNPC – Dr. Baru,’ that the NNPC boss had repeatedly sidelined and disrespected the board of the national oil firm, which is chaired by the minister, among other alleged misdemeanours.
In a letter dated 5th October 2017 and signed by its executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP said, “The allegations by Dr Kachikwu constitute grave breaches of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Act of 2000; and the UN Convention against Corruption (UNAC) which Nigeria recently ratified. In particular, the UN Convention against Corruption imposes clear obligations on Nigeria to investigate allegations of corruption such as the present one; prosecute suspected perpetrators and ensure return and repatriation of proceeds of corruption.
“SERAP is concerned that years of systemic corruption within the NNPC and looting of Nigeria’s natural resources have had uneven consequences against the vulnerable groups of the society, including the poor, women and children, perpetrating and institutionalizing discrimination, and jeopardizing the needs and well-being of future generations. If left unaddressed, the allegations by Dr Kachikwu have the potential of undermining your government’s expressed commitment to returning Nigeria to the path of transparency and accountability.
“SERAP believes that Mr Baru’s case presents your Administration with yet another rare opportunity to reassure a lot of Nigerians who may be worried about the direction of travel of your anti-corruption agenda. Rather than keeping silent on the matter, we advise you to use this case to show to Nigerians that no form of corruption will be tolerated in the NNPC under your watch.
“SERAP also believes the recommended approach would help to address the growing public suspicion and pessimism about your government’s ability to fight high-level official corruption to a standstill and to avoid any collateral consequences. It is absolutely important that the public should have complete confidence and trust in your Administration’s oft-repeated commitment to fight corruption and the impunity of perpetrators.”
“SERAP notes the recent allegations of corruption against Mr Baru by Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State of Petroleum and Chairman NNPC Board. In the letter to you Dr Kachikwu alleged among others appointments and postings in NNPC without due process; award of contracts above $20m without following the legal and procedural requirements for such contracts including the Crude Term contracts- value at over $10bn; the DSDP contracts- value over $5bn; the AKK pipeline contract- value approximately $3bn; various financing allocation funding contracts with the NOCs – value over $3bn; and various NPDC production service contracts – value at over $3bn–$4bn.”