The House of Representatives may probe an alleged $1.348 billion power sector scam levelled against General Electric, GE and Rockson Engineering by 10 Civil Society Organisations, CSOs.
This development arose from a signed petition by the CSOs on September 26, 2018, and received in the office of the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu on September 27, 2018.
The CSOs alleged actions of the two power sector players were inimical to the economic survival of Nigeria.
The CSOs include: Empowerment For Unemployed Youth Initiative, Guardians of Democracy and Development, Civil Society Group for Accountability and Probity, Transparency Advocacy Development Initiative, Citizens Alert for Development, Initiative for Leadership and Economic Development and others.
They alleged in the petition that GE and Rockson have “defrauded Nigeria of $1.348 billion over and above the standard international price of single cycle GE frame 9 turbines and caused the country the loss of 1349MW of electric power to the National grid for a period over 6 years.
“Whereas GE supplied the turbines referred to above , that is, 18 nos, GE frame 9 X 126 MW turbines for total sum of 404 million USD, in the case of Egbema, Amoku and Gberain the same GE supplied 9 nos GE frame turbines of 126MW through Rockson Engineering at a whooping sum of $1.55 billion.
“In other words, while GE supplied 18 units at $404 million in 2007, the same GE, as a consortium with Rockson Engineering supplied only nine units of the same turbines at $1.55 billion.”
Reacting to the petition yesterday, Kayode Oladele, chairman of the House Committee on Financial Crimes, and Dan Asuquo, chairman of the House Committee on Power, have both agreed that in the interest of the nation, there was need to investigate the weighty allegations levelled against the two organisations.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari while recently questioning the justification by a former President for spending $16 billion on the power sector without visible outcome, accused the National Assembly of not exercising enough oversight on the sector.
Incidentally, the two companies mentioned had been blacklisted in a House of Representatives 2008 report, following the investigations of the quantum of funds spent on the power sector without corresponding result.
The decision of the National Assembly to investigate the allegations is against fears that should Nigeria do nothing, the government of the United States of America may invoke the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (which forbids US companies from Acts of corruption anywhere in the world) to prosecute GE if found wanting.
This may cause Nigeria great embarrassment as in the Halliburton case.
In the 30-paragraphs petition, entitled “Massive fraud, financial crimes and economic sabotage perpetrated against Nigeria by General Electric International, Rockson Engineering Nigeria Ltd and their associates resulting in the crippling of the power sector,” the CSOs said while the EFCC was investigating Rockson Engineering Nigeria Ltd of fraud involving the sum of over N347 billion, GE and Rockson Engineering Nigeria Ltd entered into a Consortium Agreement.
They further stated that in spite of over $20 billion invested in the power sector since 1999 to date by the Federal Government, “the Nigerian power situation continues to wobble due largely to the deliberate activities of GE and its conspirators who have sabotaged the efforts of the Federal Government.
“We are further disenchanted at the fact that General Electric and Rockson engineering still continue to bleed Nigeria of direly needed funds through highly over inflated contracts skewed in a manner that they are doomed to fail, such that the duo can maintain Nigeria as a feasting ground through a never ending circle of fraudulent activities that stand to Nigeria’s development with negative economic consequences that further exacerbate the unemployment situation.”
They also alleged that there is collusion among GE, Rockson Engineering and officials of the Ministry of Power “projects were awarded without any bid and in flagrant breach of relevant procurement laws and due process.”
According to them, power projects in Kaduna (215 MW), GbarainUbie (378 MW), Amoku (378 MW) and Egbema (378 MW), totalling 1349 MW designed and intended to generate electricity have been deprived the country by the duo, some since 2011.
Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Crimes, Kayode Oladele while agreeing on the need for an investigation, said he needed to be briefed by the EFCC on the issue, and that until then, his response to the allegation would be limited.
He, however, agreed to speak extensively on the issue after the briefing with the commission.
On his part, Dan Asuquo, the Chairman, House Committee on Power, while speaking on the need for an investigation, said: “I remember the President said the National Assembly has sat there and they’re not doing anything. It’s not true, National Assembly has done its work, it has come out with a report. The report is there for anybody to see and use.
“If you talk about Rockson, in collaboration with GE, they have issues in which Nigerians should ask questions. If somebody is not performing, the law is there. We cannot promote the fleecing of the taxpayers’ money. If somebody is irresponsible, the law is clear, you blacklist and terminate, as long as you’ve kept your own part of the contract.”
He said the National Assembly would insist on the refund of $1.348 billion alleged to have been defrauded the Nigerian government, if investigation showed it to be justifiable.
“We will call for that refund, if that magnitude of padding, waste and corruption has been done,” he added.
The British Government has asked its Nigerian counterpart to hold to account any security agent found culpable in the cracked down on protesting members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, otherwise known as Shi’ites, which led to killing of scores of the protesters.
This came as the IMN yesterday released the names of 34 of 40 of its members it alleged were killed by security forces in Abuja last week.
The British High Commission in a statement by Louise Edwards said: ”We are concerned by the deaths of up to 50 people in and around Abuja this week. Our thoughts are with the families of those people who have lost their lives.
”We are following events closely, and have expressed our concerns about the levels of violence and numbers of people killed to the Federal Government. We encourage all parties to work together to enable the people of Nigeria to exercise freedom of association, expression and religious belief safely, peacefully and in line with the rule of law.
”It is essential that security forces act in accordance with international and domestic law and work to protect civilians. We welcome commitments by the government of Nigeria to conduct a thorough investigation and to take appropriate action to hold accountable any member of the security forces held responsible for violations of Nigerian law.”
Meanwhile, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria has released names of 34 bodies so far identified among the over 40 Shiite protesters allegedly killed by Nigerian soldiers within four days.
The protests occurred on October 27, 29 and 30 around the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
Those whose names were released included Abdulaziz Ibrahim Maigana, Kaduna State; Rabi’u Abdulwahab, Malumfashi, Katsina State; Minka’ilu Shu’aibu, Kudan, Kaduna State; Muhammad Hussain, Sokoto, Sokoto State; Abdu Dijana, Suleja, Niger State; Ukasha Dayyabu, Madalla, Niger State; and Faru’q Ahmad Garba.
Others are Sulaima SK; Muhammad Soje; Fatima Yahaya Musa; Malam Abu Qasim, Gaji, Bauchi State; Surajo Adam, Garu, Borno State; Ja’afar Yusuf, Keffi, Nasarawa State; Saeed Adamu, Awe, Nasarawa State; Lawal Ibrahim, Tudun Baushe Maraban Kafanchan, Kaduna State; Kamal Muhammad Haruna, Kaduna, Kaduna State; Al-Kasim Minka’il; Huzaifa Musa; Abdulaziz Haruna,, Bauchi, Bauchi State; Muhammad Sani Awwal, Bauchi, Bauchi State; and Zangina Muhammad Garba, Bauchi, Bauchi State.
Also on the list are Isma’il Shu’aibu Alramma, Bauchi, Bauchi State; Aliuu Munnir, Mutum Biyu, Taraba State; Hamisu Muhammad, Zaria, Kaduna State; Abbas Muhammad; Munnir Muhammad, Samaru Zaria, Kaduna State; Sa’id Zubairu, Maraba Abuja, FCT; Abdullahi Sabo Muhammad, Yauri, Kebbi State; Umar Abdullahi; Mansur Lawal, Bauchi, Bauchi State; Umar Abdullahi Dogon Haris, Adamawa State; Abubakar Dadda’u, Gombe, Gombe State; and Imrana Abdullahi.