This Day (Lagos)

21 January 2013

Nigeria: House to Summon Anenih Over N20bn Road Contracts

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, at the weekend, renewed its desire to quiz former Minister of Works, Chief Tony Anenih over his alleged role in some failed road contracts worth about N20billion.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon Solomon Adeola (ACN/Lagos), told journalists yesterday, that a formal invitation would be transmitted to Anenih this week.

The said contracts were awarded during President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration when Anenih served as Minister of Works.

Adeola said Anenih has a case to answer, stressing that his testimony will enable the Public Accounts Committee conclude its deliberations on the. 2006 Report of the Auditor General for the Federation.

"We will formally invite Anenih to come and explain to us how about N20 billion remained largely accounted for during his tenure as Works Minister. We want him to come so that we can conclude our investigations. He has a case to answer and if he does not come, it will make our findings inconclusive," Adeola said.

The Committee had about two months ago summoned Anenih over a N2.3 billion purportedly disbursed in 2006 for a road project in Nasarawa State.

The road contract was said to have been awarded in 2001 and later abandoned after paymments had been made to the contractor.

The contractor was also reported to have absconded overseas when it became clear that investigations were on to unravel the facts behind the contract.

The Public Accounts Committee had at that time threatened to use the services of Interpol to extradite the contractor, Torino Internazionale Nigeria Limited.

The 2006 Report of the Auditor-General of the Federation, alleged that the failed road contract was awarded at the cost of N2.3 billion. Out of this amount, the sum N552 million was paid, before the contract was terminated.

The contractor later went to court and obtained court judgment of N1.3 billion against the Federal Government for terminating the contract.

The lawmaker also disclosed that Permanent Secretaries managing various River Basin Development Authorities (RBDA) across nine states would appear before the committee to explain the alleged disappearance of a total sum of about N993 million from their coffers.

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