Senate Commence To Probe $1.35b Power Sector Fraud.
The Senate is set to commence an investigation into an alleged $1.35 billion fraud in the power sector. The upper chamber yesterday asked Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) to present a substantive motion on what it called a series of financial abuses in the sector, particularly since 2015.
Melaye had requested that he be allowed by the Senate to present a motion containing the details of how $1billion Eurobond raised in 2013 to fund key power projects was allegedly stolen.
He also asked that he be permitted to brief the Senate in detail how another $35 million set aside for Afam Fast Power Project was allegedly spent by officials of the Ministry of Power without appropriation and feasibility study.
Melaye declared: “In July 2013, the Federal Government raised $1billion from Eurobond issue from which $350 million was given to NBET (Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc) in 2014. This money was stolen in instalments .”
The lawmaker further stated: “Sometime last year, again, the Ministry of Power came up with an idea of a project they called Afam Fast Power. This project is supposed to build new generating plants to add power to our grid.
“There are a few questions we need to ask and that is why I need the nod of the Senate to bring a substantive motion on the next legislative day.”
Melaye told his colleagues that “up till date, there is no detail on building new generating plants or a feasibility study. There is no appropriation by the National Assembly for these projects.
“The ministry has spent so far $35 million on the Afam Fast Power Project which has no appropriation or detailed feasibility study. How and when was this money appropriated? We need to find out. How was $29million purportedly paid to General Electric for turbines when $6 million was paid to others?”
According to Melaye, “We need the Senate to investigate this after moving a substantive motion. I ask this house to give us the opportunity to continue with the true anti-corruption fight of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
When the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, put the question to vote, there was no single voice of dissent as all senators present unanimously voted in support of the planned investigation.
Also yesterday, Saraki warned the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, against disregarding invitations from the Senate, particularly when they relate to allegations of corruption. According to him, it is not right for the police boss as the country’s chief law enforcement officer to continue to treat the law with contempt.
Ruling on a motion brought before the upper chamber by the ad-hoc committee probing allegations of corruption against the IGP, Saraki maintained that no person or institution could stop the Senate from carrying out its constitutional duties. “As the chief law enforcing officer, one will expect that he (IGP) should know what the law is …“And I think that he is best advised to follow the law and ensure that he has nothing to hide, and come and appear like anyone else before the committee,” Saraki stated.