6 December 2007

Nigeria: 10m Euros Scam - FG Blacklists Siemens

Abuja — FEDERAL Government yesterday descended heavily on multinational engineering firm, Siemens Nigeria Limited over its recent involvement in the 12 million euros bribery scandal, blacklisting it from all its official transaction.

Siemens, it would be recalled was recently rocked by a 12 million euros bribery scam which was alleged in Nigeria and Russia. A whopping 10 million euros was given to Nigeria government officials which included four erstwhile Ministers of Communications.

Addressing newsmen after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which held at Aso Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. John Odey said the severance of business relationship between the government and the German company was with immediate effect.

Odey hinted that the memo on the blacklisting of the company was brought to the meeting by President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua who presided over the meeting which holds every forthnight.

"The Federal Executive Council (FEC) consider memo from the President for the improvement of power transmission and a bid for the supplies of transmission maintenance equipment which Siemens Nigeria participated and won. FEC cancelled the bid of Siemens because of the current investigation against the company relating to corrupt practices, which are at variance with the laws, and norms of this administration.

"FG places high premium on transparency and strong emphasis on zero tolerance for corruption. You will recall that this company is undergoing investigation in Nigeria and also in Germany for corrupt practices and as a result of that we excluded them from the bid and FEC cancelled the bid they won until this investigation is concluded and they are exonerated or otherwise"; he said.

He said: "The contract that was supposed to be awarded to Siemens will be represented to council since we excluded them, we did not proceed to award that particular lot that they won. The ministry will resubmit for reconsideration. They will look at other bidders for that same lot before taking a decision. They will consider new contractors excluding Siemens Nig." He clarified that government was yet to determine whether there was a corruption but explained that with the matter currently under the searchlight it was pertinent this is under investigation and that "on morale ground we should allow this investigation to be concluded before we deal with Siemens".

Asked if government's action was an end to the firm's business in the country he answered in the negative stressing that "there are other ongoing activities I am sure they are doing but the issues of contract between you and us I believe it will not be proper for government to continue to deal with Siemens in terms of giving new contracts when issues that bother on corruption are still being investigated. Siemens is a company that has a lot of businesses in this country including in telecommunication over the years".

Odey further disclosed that the FEC also directed the Ministry of Finance to ensure that the government agencies that generate revenue and are self sustaining do not exceed official approval given to them and that they and have approval for spending should also adhere strictly to due process and transparency.

On power supply, Odey noted that FEC underscored the need for other sources of power generation. He expressed government's commendation for the FCT's initiative to use solar energy for the Abuja street lights as proposed; saying "part of the effort of the government towards implementation of Mr. President's seven point agenda, council today considered mostly projects in the power sector".

Another major highlight of the meeting, he noted, was the approval of the total sum of N3.7 billion for various contracts for electricity supply; including the design and manufacture and also the supply of transmission maintenance equipment such as two number 150MVA 330/132KV power transformers with accessories and spare parts.

Also included are six number 60MVA/132/33KV power transformer in total sum of N1.4 billion in favour of two companies with the completion period of 12 months; as well as the supply of combustion liners assembly for frame 9GT 18 Delta 1V at Ughelli and Sapele Power Stations. "This is meant to restore the unit back to service in other to improve power generation of about 100MW. Council therefore considered and approved this contract in the total sum of N77367million with the completion period of six months. "Another memo from Mr. President to boost power supply transmission was also considered, it includes four number 33 11KV power transformers and 10 sets of 11KV indoor switch gears. The purpose of this contract is to reinforce and improve electricity generation and transmission in the country following electricity power supply deterioration. The project will be funded from the internally generated revenue of PHCN. Council approved this contract in the sum of N164.993million with the completion period of 12 months.

"Also FEC approved the supply of 10 sets of 11KV industries gears in the sum of N148.8 million with completion period of 12 months as well. Council also approved another memo for Delta Mac five control panels with spare parts for Ughelli Delta Electrical Power Business Unit in favour of Valence Holding Ltd in the sum N95.2 million with the completion period of another four months.

"Council further approved various contracts for supply of power equipments to various contractors with the list already with the ministry in a total sum of N1.8 billion, listing all various spare parts to help improve the transmission of power all over the country", he announced.

According to him the FCT Minister submitted a memo for consideration for the approval by the council for the award of contract for solar powered street lights along outer southern express way from Ring Road one to Niger Barracks at the cost of N127 million with completion period pegged at 20 weeks.

"The health care services received another boost by council approval for Zuma Cottage Hospital. It is a 40-bed hospital comprising an emergency unit, which includes radiology department, pharmacy department, delivery unit amongst others. Council approved this contract in the sum of N276.8 for the completion of 30 weeks.

The council also rectified anticipatory approval of Mr. President for International Development Association (IDA) credit amounting to $65 million in favour of some states, which include Kaduna , Kano and Kwara. The participating states are selected based on needs and their readiness to participate in the IDA, which was advanced to Federal Government on concessionary rate for onward lending to the various states as well"; he said.

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