Posted by News Express | 2 March 2020 | 493 times
By TONY AKOWE
The House of Representatives is to investigate alleged plot to divert the $308 million Abacha loot using one of the construction giants in the country.
The decision of the House followed a motion sponsored by Rep. Ifeanyi Chudi Momah informing the House that the government was planning to divert the money to three critical projects for which provisions has already been made by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Authority.
The federal government had said that it intends to use the money to expedite work on three major infrastructure, i.e., Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, Abuja–Kano Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge may be diverted into private accounts.
The House has therefore directed it is standing committee on Works to ensure that those 3 projects are not used as conduit pipe to short-change Nigerians again and report back its findings to House in 4 weeks’ time.
Rep. Ifeanyi Chudi Momah who raised the alarm said the government was planning to divert the Abacha loot to the project even when funding has never been the issue concerning the three projects which are being funded under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Imitative.
He said ‘the looted funds of Abacha that are supposed to be repatriated have now been projected to be used most of these projects even when funding has never been the issue”.
It will be recalled that the House, at its plenary on Thursday directed its Committee on Works, to set up an inquiry into allegations of contractual malfeasance to the tune of N206billion, involving the ongoing 2nd Niger Bridge project and the two other projects.
Momah alleged that there was the possibility that the contract for the Second Niger Bridge was inflated and not awarded through open competitive bidding in accordance with the Public Procurement Act.
In convincing the House to unanimously adopt his argument, Momah had told his colleagues that phase I was awarded on Public Private Partnership bases and 2(a) and 2(b) of the 2nd Niger Bridge, were to be awarded as traditional contracts at the rate of N118billion, the governmental allegedly breached the deal and awarded same to Julius Berger at the whopping cost of N206billion.
“Phase 2 of the job was to be awarded as Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer basis under PPP scheme, phase 2a and 2b were to be awarded as traditional contracts, the same job, has now been awarded to Julius Berger for N206Billion, as against the cost of N118Billion valued by BPP”.
However, the House accused the government of flouting sections of the Public Procurement Act, and denying Nigerians, the required transparency, due process and judicious application of resources.
As of December last year, 19,520,949,317.16 was released to Section 1 of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, N80,242,079,039.46 to the 2nd Niger Bridge, N50,856,044,301.27 to Abuja-Kano-Zaria-Kano Expressway, totalling N150,619,072,657.89. (The Nation)
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