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FG Investigates NCDMB $500 Million Loans, Projects on Local Content 


…Minister alleges mismanagement of over half a billion dollars on several projects and loans.
…Task journalists to visit project sites of NCDMB’s partners

The Federal Government of Nigeria has revealed it is investigating loans and projects estimated at $500 million executed by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, revealed this at a dinner in Lagos hosted by The Petroleum Club recently.

Lokpobiri accused the past NCDMB executive of misusing approximately $500 million on questionable projects and loans.

In a statement obtained by The Energy Republic, Lokpobiri alleged that the past leadership of the NCDMB, under the former Executive Secretary, Engr. Simbi Wabote paid $35 million for the Brass modular refinery in Bayelsa State and $20 million for a fertilizer factory, both of which have yet to materialize.

However, the minister commended the investment made in the Waltersmith modular refinery but criticized other projects, stating that loans given out by NCDMB were mostly non-performing, resulting in over half a billion dollars wasted.

The minister said, “It is brilliant for the NCDMB to partner with potential investors to build modular refineries, but there are some cases. I give an example: In Bayelsa, there was the Atlantic Refinery that was supposed to be in Brass, my predecessor’s hometown. $35m was paid out by NCDMB, not even one block is there. Normally if the NCDMB is to make an investment, there is a disbursement threshold, but this $35m was released at once. This is the same town that Simbi, the former NCDMB Executive Secretary also came from. When you go there you see an open field, not even one block.

“There is also the Brass Fertiliser, NCDMB also released $20m, empty field. So, NCDMB has made some very bad investments. In this case, NCDMB has disbursed about $19Om in different equity investments, and none of them, apart from the Waltersmith modular refinery, can you say is worth a good investment. But the NCDMB under my leadership will not do a thing like that.”

Reacting to the allegations, former NCDMB Executive Secretary Simbi Wabote denied the claims, highlighting the success of the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund and the positive returns from investments, such as dividends from NedoGas and profits from Waltersmith’s modular refinery.

Wabote clarified that while some projects faced challenges, others, like the Duport Refinery in Edo State, have been completed.

He defended NCDMB’s track record, highlighting achievements like the construction of the NCDMB Towers and the development of industrial parks.

However, the minister has reiterated that he stands by his statement at The Petroleum Club’s quarterly event in Lagos, stating that NCDMB wasted over $500 million of the industry’s fund in equity investments in private establishments and in loans that are now non-performing.

The minister while reacting to a recent media statement by SIMBI Wabote, dismissed as blatant lies from the pit of hell, claims that his office requested for increase in the NCDMB budget by N30 billion for the office of the Minister.

In a statement signed by Nneamaka Okafor, SA Media, and Communication, Minister Of State For Petroleum Resources (Oil), the minister noted that “Our position is that he who alleges must prove same. So, if Mr. Wabote has proof of such a conversation, he is challenged to provide the same.

“Secondly the Minister has no aide called Blackson. All his aides were duly selected in line with extant laws and have documents to that effect.

According to the statement, “The Minister in his capacity as chairman of the Governing Council stands by his statement at The Petroleum Club’s quarterly event in Lagos, and as journalists, I welcome you to visit the places mentioned to verify the allegations for yourself.

“Thirdly, the said Atlantic Refinery was supposed to be built in Mr Wabote’s home town, he should show Nigerians where that refinery is.

“Fourthly, the Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical company was also paid for, you are welcomed to also visit the site to verify the facts for yourself.

The statement noted that Investigations are ongoing and the truth will surely come to light and monies belonging to the generality of Nigerians will be recovered for Nigerians.

“Let me add that these revelations are not new, they were first made during an investigative hearing of the House of Representative Committee on Local Content. Again the records are there and you are welcome to verify these facts.

“The Minister has never been part of any budgeting process of any parastatal under the Ministry, you are welcome to visit these agencies to verify for yourself.

“Finally, the Minister’s office is run with a budget superintended by the permanent secretary and so one will wonder, how the Minister will ask another entity to make provisions for the budget of his Office. The Minister has an impeccable record from his time as Minister of Agric and will continue to stand for the truth.

“The Minister and Indeed the Chairman of the Governing Council of the NCDMB will not abdicate his responsibility to please anyone. He has a responsibility to ensure that, that which belongs to Nigerians is judiciously used for Nigerians

“I have had course to read Mr Wabote’s release and everyone can see that he is still nursing the wounds of being replaced even after spending seven years on the Board. At best, this is a clear case of when you fight corruption, corruption will fight back.”

The review of NCDMB loans and projects signals a commitment by the Federal Government to ensure accountability and efficient use of resources in advancing Nigeria’s economic development.

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