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$16bn Power Project: Obasanjo Releases EFCC Report

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday made public the report of the investigation conducted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2007, on various allegations, including that of the alleged  $16 billion power project.

The report,  contained in a 20-page paper,  was the outcome of investigations based on petitions written by former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu and the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) and signed by its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran in 2005 and 2007 respectively.

The report which was made available by the former President’s Media Aide, Mr Kehinde Aknyemi, noted that the former governor failed to meet with the investigation Panel to supply evidence to substantiate the allegations he raised.

Part of the report noted that “this was followed by series of telephone calls to all his houses both in Nigeria and abroad. A final appeal, through the publication of the invitation, was made in newspapers. All these spirited efforts were un-acknowledged as Chief Kalu declined the repeated invitations. The second petitioner, the Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran appeared before the Commission in Lagos and threw more lights on his write-up.”

The report also showed that on the power project allegation, “in the period under review, a total of N10, 776,493,271:84; $69,808,942:70; Euros 12,853,883:40 and UKP 8, 987,322:00 were paid to the various contractors. However, outstanding payments for the contractors stand at N11, 520,669,195:53; $375,435,687:37; and Euros 7, 257,552:91 pending the completion of the project.

“Further investigations also revealed that National Integrated Power Project is currently apace in six zones of the country for which about N1, 230,949,066,528:99 was committed by the federal government. The projects are also at different levels of completion but as at the moment of this report, N360, 714,147,700:03 have been paid out to contractors, leaving a balance of N870, 234,918,828:06 yet to be paid pending the completion of the project.

Meanwhile,  following representations made by some civil society groups, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reportedly constituted a team to probe the controversy surrounding the $16 billion allegedly spent on power projects.

EFCC source,  said a team in EFCC has begun work on the files and papers already,  noting that some highly placed persons will be invited for interaction.

The EFCC may also conduct a forensic and comprehensive investigation into the alleged $16 billion power projects.

The investigation, our source revealed will be focused on the total cost of the projects, how much was withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA), the total number of contracts awarded, the extent of compliance with due process and the status of the execution of all the projects.

It would be recalled that many issues were raised for investigation by the House Committee, which was headed by Hon. Ndudi Elumelu such as “all NIPP payments were made without following due process, no meaningful progress was made in the execution of power contracts, officials rushed to pay contractors in full even before engineering design for the projects have been completed and approved NIPP contracts were not only overpriced in comparison with PHCN contracts, they were also wide off the mark,

Widespread evidence of systematic over-scoping of projects in order to inflate costs both in PHCN and NIPP

NIPP Distribution EPC contracts were awarded at costs averaging about 10 times the norm when compared to PHCN contracts.”

The Ndudi Elumelu Committee was put in place by the House on January 31, 2008 to look into how much was spent on power projects.

In its report, the committee said that about $13.278 billion was spent on power projects between 1999 and 2007.

The committee recommended termination of 13 contracts and review of 10 projects and about 15 contracting and consulting companies were asked to be investigated by the appropriate agencies.‎



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