Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Damning Revelation on Power at National Assembly

Hi Folks,

There is hope for this country afterall. I mean did you guys watch the damning revelation on AIT on the N16 billion scandal on power sector? Can you imagine a Japanese firm being in this country for over 30 years with little or no Nigerian presence?

For me the Chairman of Committee on Power and Steel, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, is my hero because is as a result of his committee's effort that Nigerians are privillage to know the magnitude of corruption under this sector. Imagine the total disregard for rule of law in Nigeria and yet those who came into this country with potmanto keep exporting dollars, euros and pounds to their various countries.

The committee was told that the federal government processed 300 contracts and made well over 340 payments in respect of the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) – but none of the contracts in the last five years passed through the Ministry of Power.

The contracts were executed between the minister and the Presidency through the Presidential Steering Committee made up of Mr. Joseph Makoju, Shomolu Sheke, Senator Liyel Imoke and Mr. Funso Kupolokun.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy (Power Section), Dr Aliyu Abdulahi, said the civil service bureaucracy was never involved in the award of the NIPP contracts.

Abdullahi, in his submission before the Committee, said: “The Information I got as the Permanent Secretary was that over 340 contracts by the Nigerian Integrated Power Projects were approved, while over 300 payments were made.”

He however denied that the NIPP projects were brought to the attention of the Permanent Secretary or any Director at the Ministry.

“The Permanent Secretary is usually the accounting officer, but the accounting officer then was the Minister of Power, Senator Liyel Imoke. He approved the contracts and they were forwarded to the due process Office. The minister approved everything without the knowledge of any Director or Permanent Secretary. I have visited some of those projects, but no report has been submitted to me on any of the power projects by the task force that we set up,” Abdullahi said.

The contracts were paid for by the Presidential committee (then headed by the fomer Vice-President Atiku Abubakar) and not the ministry, he said.
The Managing Director, NIPP, and a seasoned auditor, Mr. James Olotu, told the Committee that the Atiku-led Presidential Committee passed the mandate to a steering committee headed by Imoke, with other members who were Okonjo-Iweala, and Kupolokun, Makoju.

In his testimony, Abubakar said: “All NIPP projects were handled by the Minister and then the Presidency. The Permanent Secretaries were never involved. The Minister defended everything; we had no knowledge of any Dire-ctor of Permanent Secretary that was involved from my records.

“When I resumed, the Managing Director said he was not going to report to me but the Minister of Finance. I said no and that was the only time a Director was appointed for the NIPP under the Ministry.”

Energo, a company chaired by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abu-bakar, with the former NEPA MD, Alhaji Hamza Abdulahi, as co-owner, was said to have been awarded contracts worth over N19 billion in local currency and £72, 686,136 in foreign content for the construction of KVA stations and transmission lines.

Thomas Lambeth, an Austrian and chief executive of Energo, told the committee that the company had so far received N13 billion, but said that work done so far was just about 10 per cent.

The Energo boss said since the company was awarded the contracts for the Ugwuorju/New Haven/Ikot Ekpene, Lot 3 EPC 200, 330 KV sub-station and the transmission lines, he had never visited the site neither did he know the place.

Lambeth said work had also stopped at the various sites on the contract that was scheduled to have been completed by March 7 2009, due to non-reconciliation of payments between the Ministry and his company.

Olotu revealed that Pivot Engineering Nigeria Limited signed a contract of $29 million while the Managing Director of the company, Mr David Braide, a South African, disputed the figure, insisting that only $26 million was signed for the offshore component of the job.

Braide, who heads the firm, also said that he had never been to site.
The South African admitted the payment of N151,955,742 for the onshore component of the job after receiving an advance payment of $847,623,200 for the offshore component with a completion period of 22 months.

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