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SERAP Demands Identities Of Failed Power Project Contractors

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, to publish the names of contractors who absconded with money without executing the projects.

SERAP, in a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to Fashola, charged him to use his good offices to “urgently provide information on specific names and details of contractors and companies which allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute them, starting from the return of democracy in 1999 to 2018.”

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 when he said that “contractors were given some contracts for power projects and were paid 100 per cent upfront. The money went down the drain. Uptil now, we are not holding the contractors responsible. People have collected money upfront 100 percent and have disappeared; and have not even done any work.”

The group said that Atiku’s revelation is consistent with its recent report titled: “From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are Paying the Price for Corruption in the Electricity Sector”, which also revealed “how over N11 trillion meant to provide regular electricity supply was allegedly squandered by politicians and contractors under successive governments.”

In the FoI request dated January 4, 2019 and signed by SERAP senior legal adviser Bamisope Adeyanju, the organisation said: “By publishing the names of the contractors and their registration details, if any, Nigerians will be better able to hold them to account for allegedly absconding with public funds meant for electricity projects, thereby throwing the country into perpetual darkness and socio-economic stagnation as well as denying the people their human rights.”

SERAP told the minister that “publishing the names will make it hard for the contractors and companies to get away with complicity in grand corruption. If the requested information is not provided within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, we shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request.”

SERAP also demanded that the contractors and companies should be referred to the appropriate anti-corruption agencies for investigation and prosecution where there is relevant admissible evidence.

It declared that the failure of the minister to publish the names of the contractors would undermine the federal government’s oft-expressed commitment to holistically fight grand corruption and improve access of Nigerians to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply.

SERAP said that the information it requested is not exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FoI Act, stressing that apart from not being exempted from disclosure under the FOI Act, it “bothers on an issue of national interest, public concern, interest of human rights, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability.”

 

 

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