Few days after PREMIUM TIMES exposed how crooked officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, stole billions of naira using an enterprise resource solution meant for accountability, the head of the corporation on Thursday wielded the big stick, suspending the official at the centre of the scandal indefinitely.
Authoritative sources said the recently appointed Group General Manager, SAP/IT Department, Surajdeen Afolabi, whose unit is in charge of the controversial SAP project, was asked to immediately proceed on indefinite suspension.
Mr. Afolabi had been in charge of the project since 2007 when it was originally conceived as a plank of the then Olusegun Obasanjo administration’s reform agenda in the oil and gas industry.
The suspension order issued by the Group Managing Director, Ibe Kachikwu, is to allow for unfettered review and investigation into the project implementation, PREMIUM TIMES understands.
The recently recruited head of the seven-member SAP Team, Inuwa Danladi, appointed General Manager, ITD/SAP of NNPC, was directed to take charge till further notice.
Late President Musa Yar’adua had on February 16, 2009, approved $36.75 million for the completion of the entire project meant to monitor real-time NNPC operations and its network of subsidiaries and affiliates irrespective of their locations.
Successive NNPC managements exploited the loopholes in the project, and fleeced the corporation of billions.
A February 2015 implementation review report by the Corporate Audit Department of the NNPC titled: “Review of SAP Implementation Project,” exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, revealed how the deployment of the SAP solution turned a specimen of monumental fraud.
By January 2015, the report said the SAP ERP implementation gulped almost double the total amount approved for the deployment of the solution in all NNPC’s 18 subsidiaries, affiliates and strategic business units.
The report said the implementation of the project, which had 86 weeks completion time-line, had dragged for more than three years, despite gulping over $70 million – almost double the original contract sum – with nothing to show.
“There seems to be a disconnect between the business units (users of different SAP solutions) and the SAP PMO as per the completeness of deployment and usability of the solution,” the report stated.
“While SAP PMO considers SAP program as having been completed and closed, most business units are still grappling with challenges, ranging from incomplete deployment, lack of integration amongst modules and usability,” it added.
IT experts familiar with the workings of the SAP system globally said it is usually deployed once, and run globally through an integrated network linking all SBUs, irrespective of location, the managers of the system in NNPC were hawking them piecemeal to all subsidiaries for personal gains.
The review report had said that, so far only five of NNPC’s subsidiaries have the system functional, and without integration with the other subsidiaries and affiliates.
On assumption of office, the NNPC GMD, had on several occasions, expressed outrage, frustration and disappointment over the implementation of the project.
During a meeting with NNPC’s top management officials late September, the GMD reportedly observed that despite the huge investment in the SAP project, it remained more of a drainpipe than a solution to anti-corruption campaign in the organisation.
A spokesperson for the NNPC, Ohi Alegbe, could not be immediately reached for comments for this story.