7 January 2019

Nigeria: SERAP Demands Names of Fraudulent Power Projects Contractors

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has been asked to provide the names and details of contractors that allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute them, from 1999 to 2018.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) made the request, exercising its Freedom of Information (FOI) right.

According to SERAP, former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, reportedly blew the whistle on Channels TV.

"Contractors were given some contracts for power projects and were paid 100 percent upfront. The money went down the drain. Up till now, we are not holding the contractors responsible. They have disappeared and have not even done any work," Atiku was quoted to have alleged.

In the FOI request dated 4 January, 2019 and signed by SERAP senior legal adviser, Bamisope Adeyanju, the group said the revelation by Atiku was entirely consistent with its recent report

"The report, titled 'From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are Paying the Price for Corruption in the Electricity Sector', also revealed how over N11 trillion meant to provide regular electricity supply was allegedly squandered by politicians and contractors under successive governments," SERAP said.

The group noted that by publishing the names of the contractors and their registration details, if any, Nigerians would be better able to make them explain why they absconded with public funds meant for electricity projects, thereby throwing the country into perpetual darkness and socio-economic stagnation as well as denying people their human rights.

The organization said failure to publish the names of the alleged corrupt contractors and companies would undermine the government's oft-expressed commitment to holistically fight grand corruption and improve access of Nigerians to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply.

"Similarly, failure to take punitive and dissuasive measures would allow corrupt contractors and companies to continue to undermine the rule of law and socio-economic development of the country, restricting access of disadvantaged and marginalised communities to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply."

The FOI request reads in part: "It is important to show that your office and indeed this administration would not shield or allow ingrained wrongdoing by contractors and companies in the power sector to go unpunished.

"Unless the names of the contractors and companies are disclosed and widely published, alleged corrupt contractors and companies executing electricity projects will not be deterred and the victims of corruption that they committed will continue to be denied justice and effective remedies.

"SERAP urges you to publish the names of all contractors and companies that have been engaged in the power sector since the return of democracy in 1999 to date, details of specific projects and the amounts that have been paid to the contractors and companies, details on the level of implementation of electricity projects and their specific locations across the country."

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