Aiteo group has refuted on-line report alleging, that its company maintained a corrupt relationship with the erstwhile Nigerian Minister for Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
“ Any objective reader of the article would readily come to the irresistible conclusion that the publication is, to all intents and purposes, prejudicially designed to tarnish the image and reputation of the company as well as that of our Executive Vice Chairman,” stated the company.
“As some of these matters are sub-judice, we are unable to comment entirely on all issues raised. However, global best practice demands that we tender this rebuttal for the sake of shareholders, host communities, over 11,000 people who derive their livelihood from the company and the general public,” the group added,
“ At no time in our company’s history, has any of our directors or employees ever been involved in any form of criminal or immoral business, other conduct or activity with the former Petroleum Minister, any NNPC or other government staff or agent. Aiteo never benefitted from the Strategic Alliance Agreements referenced in the article.
“We were a major player in the Nigerian oil sector importing petroleum products for NNPC and exporting naphtha, fuel oil and condensates and already a flourishing and prosperous group by any standards long before Mrs Alison-Madueke’s appointment as Minister of Petroleum Resources. Aiteo’s core area of business has been the trading and distribution of sundry petroleum products since its inception in 1999. Furthermore, the NNPC has publicly confirmed that no Aiteo entity is indebted to NNPC or any of its subsidiaries,”the company stressed.
“The article purported that Aiteo has been linked to the alleged 2015 INEC bribery scheme but failed to state in which way it arrived at this conclusion simply because no such reality exists. It is only those seeking to deliberately besmirch the hard-earned reputation of Aiteo as Nigeria’s foremost indigenous oil and gas company that will dubiously link the company, in the manner that the publication has done”.
The group further said, “ It is with respect to their false inferences concerning OML 29 that the true motive of the authors of the publication comes to light. The truth is that the sale of OML 29 to the Aiteo Consortium by Shell, was conducted under international best practices, with Aiteo emerging as the preferred bidder due to its superior technical and commercial competence. The rigor and transparency under which the bid was conducted by the owners of the purchased interest, Shell, Total and Agip, made it unnecessary and impossible for anyone to influence the outcomes inordinately. These allegations are therefore wrong and should not have been published.”
That Aiteo according to the company is able to announce a production increase of 400% from about 23kbpod a year ago to averaging over 90kbpod, is a testament to the technical robustness of our work force and the prudence and professionalism of our management team.
“Despite our open-door policy to media enquiries, the authors claimed to have attempted to contact us several times. However, it is a shame that none of those efforts extended to using the contact details on our corporate website. We have long seen this coming, as it is apparent to Aiteo and any keen observer, that there is vested interest behind the unsavoury publications, and that there is an orchestrated campaign of calumny on an international level against an indigenous company that has gone global in outlook and outreach ,” Aiteo said.
The firm said, “We are now left with no choice, but to consider legal action against organisations who have or will allow themselves to be irresponsibly and unlawfully used in this smear campaign.
…as former power minister refutes sack allegation
A former minister of power, Professor Bart Nnaji, has described as false, a statement by the former Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media, Mr. Reno Omokri, that he (Nnaji) was fired over allegation of corruption.
Omokri had made the claim in response to the accusation by the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, who said the former president failed “woefully” during his regime.
Omokri had dismissed Okechukwu’s claim as lacking in facts, claiming that Jonathan fired two of his ministers – Nnaji and Stella Oduah – over corruption allegation, while the current administration is shielding government officials accused of corruption.
But in a swift response, Nnaji told journalists in Lagos yesterday, that he resigned honourably from the Jonathan’s administration to protect his integrity and without any corruption allegation hanging on his neck.
He revealed that Omokri as a “mere” presidential aide was inconsequential and was not present when he informed Jonathan in a private meeting about his decision to resign.
“If you want to defend your boss, defend your boss correctly with facts. Do not go to impugn people’s character in order to defend your boss. I have not made any statement against anybody and I know exactly what happened in that place.
“There have been numerous reports about what transpired; and I was very clear that those who were vested in the sector were out to get what they wanted. Some of them did get what they wanted and I didn’t want to be part of any of that. That is why I resigned. So, anybody saying anything else is trying to find a way to deflect issues and it shouldn’t be an innocent person – somebody who came to serve his country and everybody knows what I did and the quality of work I did in the sector. I have a letter of resignation, which I tendered to the president; and I issued a statement, stating why I was resigning; that I didn’t want my integrity to be tampered with. It was very clear; it is public knowledge; you people reported it,” Nnaji explained.
The former minister, who further stated that he was still in possession of a copy of his resignation letter, added
that two days after his resignation, the former president confirmed publicly that he did not commit any offence.
“It is actually quite funny. First, the presidential aide was not there when the president and I discussed my resignation and I have my letter of resignation and I resigned. The president and I discussed it, and I even issued a statement on why I resigned. But to make matters even much clearer, two days later, the president was directly asked what I did that I left the government, and he said, and I quote ‘Professor Nnaji committed no offence.’ It is there; all of you reported it. It is not from my mouth; it was from the president’s mouth,” Nnaji added.