3 November 2017

Nigeria: Senate to Investigate U.S.$1.035bn Fraud in Power Ministry

Photo: This Day

Abuja — The Senate yesterday vowed to investigate a $1.035 billion fraud in the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing.

This followed a motion on Order 42 of the Senate Rules moved by Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West).

Melaye informed the plenary that the ministry acquired about $1 billion from euro bond, which was issued by the federal government in 2013.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, on hearing the discovery of the alleged fraud, granted Melaye's prayer to sponsor a substantive motion on the allegation on the next legislative day, being next week Tuesday.

Revealing how the money was gotten, Melaye said that the sum of $350 million was given to IBEX in 2014 by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He alleged that the money is being syphoned in installments by officials of the ministry.

He said, "In line with the anti-corruption posture of this chamber, especially now that our cries and observation are yielding evidence as expressly manifested in the case of Babachir Lawal, today, I bring to the attention of this Senate, a monumental fraud in the power sector.

"In July 2013, the federal government raised N1 billion from a Euro bond issue. From the proceeds, the sum of $350 million was given to IBEX in 2014. This money is installmentally stolen".

The lawmaker further alleged that in 2016, the ministry came up with a project named Fast Power, which was supposed to build new generating plants to add to national power grid.

He said the project failed, as the National Assembly did not approve any expenditure for it.

Melaye continued: "As I speak to you Mr. President, sometime last year again, the Ministry of Power came up with the project they termed Fast Power. This indigested project is supposed to build new generating plants to add power to our grid.

"There are few questions I need to ask to bring a substantive motion up in another legislative day. Up till date, there are no details to build this new generating plant or feasibility study. There is no appropriation by the National Assembly for this project.

"The ministry has spent $35 million on the affirmed Fast Power project that has no appropriation or no detailed feasibility study. How and when was this money appropriated? Out of this money, $29 million was purportedly paid to General Electric for turbines, while $6 million was paid to others. This amount, amongst others, is a monumental fraud. We need Senate to investigate this after moving a substantive motion".

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