Osinbajo says $25bn NNPC contract claims fictitious

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The vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, on Sunday pushed back against allegations of contract infractions raised by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, saying the $25 billion the minister stated in his leaked memo to President Buhari “does not exist,” Premium Times reports.

The vice-president said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation only conducted a shortlisting process for crude oil lifting which did not involve financial transactions as stated by Mr. Kachikwu. “It is therefore wrong and misleading to refer to them as though they’re contracts involving the expenditure of NNPC funds, or public funds of any sort,” Mr. Osinbajo said in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande. “There is no $25 billion missing.”

A spokesperson for Mr. Kachikwu, Uche Ozurumba, did not respond to requests for comments Sunday night. But the minister had been reported as playing down the content of his memo as administrative complaints and less severe than media reports about it suggested. The statement is the fifth to come out of the State House since Friday, as administration officials scramble to contain a public relations nightmare set off by Mr. Kachikwu’s memo.