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 Senate Probes $350m NBET Fund, Unearth Diversion Of $100m Into Abuja, Lagos, Other Airports



….Summons Amaechi, Adeosun, Oniha

Senate yesterday revealed that $100 million Euro bond which was meant for the rehabilitation of the power sector has been diverted by the Ministry of Transport  for the remodeling of the Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt Airports.

The Upper Chamber is probing the sum of $350 million fund of the Nigerian Electricity Bulk Trading Company (NBET), domiciled into the account of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

The diverted sum was illegally removed by the ministry of Transport from $600 million Euro Bond from the Chinese Government granted to enable the federal government enhance power sufficiency and stability in country.

The ministry claimed the $100 million dollars was used as counterpart funding for the rehabilitation of the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Airports, instead rescusitating the power sector.

Consequently, the Senate has summoned the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, her Transportation counterpart, Rotimi Amaechi, as well as the Director- General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Mrs Patience Oniha to appear before  it immediately and furnish with explanations as why the assessed loan designed to revive the power sector was diverted.

Yesterday, the Joint Senate Committee on Public Accounts and Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy led by Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo South) convened an investigative session.

Also, the joint committee quizzed the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Uche Orji, and the Chief Executive Officer of the  Nigerian Electricity Bulk Trading Company (NBET) Dr. Marylyn Amobi,over  the $350 million NBET domiciliary fund.

On the $100, Senate said it wanted to establish the desirability of the loan and that when the loan was being secured by the Federal Government, it was not meant as counterpart fund to service Chinese loan.

For the NBET fund, Senator Urhoghide noted, “we need to establish the desirability of the loan, it was for power sector, to develop the sector, it was for the Nigerian Electricity Bulk Trading Company, NBET, Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, among others. Aviation was not in the picture, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC was used to secure the loan. Aviation did not apply for it, and not in the list of agencies to benefit. There was no Presidential approval, Aviation was not listed as a beneficiary.”

But the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Sabiu Zakari while appearing before the Senate, yesterday, maintained that out of $600m Euro Bond, $100 million was not diverted but given to transport expansion of the airports as counterpart funding. He insisted the loan was granted to the ministry and which, must be paid accordingly.

Similarly, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Uche Orji told the Senate the NBET funds are intact with the NSIA and has also grown from $350 million to $397.5 million.He however, averred that $13.5 million was recalled by NBET to service the interest, leaving a safe balance $384 million.



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