OrderPaperToday – The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has refuted the claims of misapplication of $35 million without the authorization of the National Assembly.
Recall that Sen. Dino Melaye on November 2 alerted the Senate on monies “stolen in installment” by the ministry in guise of a project termed Afam Fast power project with a “controversial presidential approval”. The senator accused Fashola’s ministry of spending $35 million without appropriation and feasibility study.
The Senate consequently on November 9 charged its committees on power and public account to invite the minister to provide detailed account of public funds spent on the projects and equally provide evidence of a feasibility study indicating the viability of the project as well as the requisite approval by the National Assembly.
Reacting to this in a statement personally signed by him, Fashola described the allegations as “unverified” stressing that his ministry and management had done nothing wron
He accused Melaye of raising accusations based on ulterior motive.
He said: “With all emphasis, I state that there is no factual basis for the allegations. The ministry, my staff and I have done nothing wrong and we will collaborate fully with the investigating committee when called upon.”
Clarifying further, Fashola noted that he was not a minister in 2013 when certain funds were received in the period as Sen. Dino claimed in his motion, adding that his ministry is not in charge of managing government debt like Eurobond.
The minister said further: “The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) had on Monday, 6th November 2017 issued a statement on the front page of The Nation Newspaper explaining that the money was not missing, stating also that the $350 million had been invested and that interest had even accrued on the money.
“If there was no ulterior motive for the allegation, this was enough reason for a reconsideration of the presentation of the motion on the floor of the Senate on the 8th of November 2017.
“But the story seemed to have changed from “missing money” to “desperate attempt to retrieve the money “, this week.”
Speaking on this, the minister explained that the Afam Fast Power project was commenced as an investment by a U.S. firm, General Electric, to boost power supply in the country.
According to him, “they offered to do this by providing Nigeria with mobile turbines of 600MW if we could find a location with Gas and Transmission evacuation infrastructure. The Afam Power Station fitted because it had transmission and evacuation facilities but all its turbines had been virtually run down.
“The investment was contingent on paying $27,990,000 million which was 15% of 8 (eight) units of 30MW turbines each totalling 240MW valued at about $186,600,000:00.
“This payment of $27.9m was made without breaching any law. At this moment, the turbines have arrived Nigeria and currently at the Onne Port. This is verifiable just as works are ongoing on the site – civil and engineering – preparing to receive the turbines, and install other equipment already at site.”
In addition, the minister said the project will add 240MW to the grid when commissioned.
He further cautioned the Senate on these allegations because according to him, investors do not require parliamentary approval to invest in the country which could serve as “an imminent threat to our investment climate.”