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    Posted November 3, 2012 by
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    Petroleum Task Force Submits Report To Jonathan

     

    The Petroleum Special Task Force commissioned to probe, verify and recover debts owed the federal government in the petroleum sector Friday submitted its report to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.  There was however a sharp disagreement between Chairman of the task force, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, the pioneer chairman of the EFCC, and Deputy Chairman, Mr. Steve Oronsaye, a former Head of Service, over procedural issues, findings and recommendations in the report which Oronsaye described as fundamentally flawed. He urged President Jonathan not to accept the document.  While Oronsaye and Ribadu traded words on the report, President Jonathan, who keenly listened to the exchanges, tried to calm frayed nerves by saying that it is not unusual for committee members to have divergent opinions on a task. He described both men as patriots.  Ribadu as chairman of the special task force was first to address the President and those present.  He said: “Mr. President, the recommendation of our task force will strengthen institutions responsible for the management of petroleum institution and increase revenue accruing to the federal government of Nigeria.  “Mr. President our assignment is essentially to enhance government revenue in proving transparency and accountability and help you to fight corruption in this industry. Therefore in the course of the assignment, our work was extensive, our findings and our recommendations are far reaching in these various issues covered in our terms of reference…”  However Orosanye interjected saying, “I want to say to you Mr. President that the process that has been followed is flawed and the report that has just been submitted to the honourable Minister is the immediate reaction to the President’s directive that the report be submitted.  “The last time this committee met was in early July when the draft report was to be considered and I raised certain pertinent issues. It was agreed and suggested and accepted at that meeting that a small group be put together to review, modify and return to the report drafting committee before presenting to the whole house. That did not happen. No matter how good the efforts that have been put into this exercise, as long as the process is flawed and that report is one that cannot be implemented.  “When Mr. President gave the directed that the report be submitted today, we should have been man enough to say, it is not feasible. When I came in, I asked the secretary, where is the signature page? He said the chairman is to sign for all of us. I said certainly, I have not authorized anybody to sign on my behalf.  “I don’t know what the report contains. Therefore, in my view, I do not think the report should be accepted at this time, I challenge any member of this committee to take me on.”  “It is unfortunate that the point has been missed on the process issue. We agreed that the committee be brought to a committee of the whole. That was not done. Some of the figures that were in the draft report were un-reconciled figures and I did say in that meeting that we have institutions responsible for this figures and therefore you should work with these institutions. I do not know whether DPR and FIRS are here. These are the people who should be talking about these figures and there were statements that were subjective.  “What I am saying is that the President has said come and submit the report, so what, if we are not ready, we are not ready. When I say so what, the President has spoken, we should be man enough to tell the President that we are not ready. That is the reason why you are handing over a report that is not process driven,” he said looking at Ribadu. 
  Both Ribadu and Oro

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