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Reps, EFCC probe alleged $1.348bn power project scam


Nigeria’s House of Representatives on resumption from the two weeks recess is expected to commence investigation into petition on the alleged sabotage of $1.348 billion power sector contract.

BusinessDay gathered that similar petition initiated by coalition of Civil Society Organisation, is before Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Commission’s investigation was in response to a petition titled: ‘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’, dated 26th September, 2018 and addressed to Ibrahim Magu, EFCC acting Chairman.

The petitioner observed said while the EFCC was investigating Rockson Engineering Nigeria Ltd in 2009 of fraud involving the sum of over N347 billion, GE and Rockson Engineering Nigeria Ltd entered into a Consortium Agreement.

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The petitioners said in spite of over $20 billion invested in the Power sector since 1999 to date by the Federal Government, “the Nigerian power situation continue to wobble due largely to the deliberate activities of GE and its conspirators who have sabotaged the efforts of the federal government.”

They alleged that two companies 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 1,349MW of electric power to the National grid for a period over six years.”

The 10-page petition read in part: “Whereas GE supplied the turbines referred to above, that is, 18Nos, GE frame 9 X 126 MW  turbines for total sum of $404 million, in the case of Egbema, Amoku and Gberain the same GE supplied 9Nos. 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 USD in 2007, the same GE, as a consortium with Rockson Engineering supplied only 9 units of the same turbines at $1.55 billion USD.”

The petitioner further argued that the 215MW power project in Kaduna, Gbarain Ubie (378MW), Amoku (378MW) and Egbema (378MW), totaling 1,349MW were designed and intended to generate electricity since 2011 are yet to be completed.

They maintained that the affected companies have continued to bleed Nigeria of direly needed funds through highly over inflated contracts skewed in a manner that they are doomed to fail, adding that the projects in question “were awarded without any bidding and in flagrant  breach of relevant procurement laws and due process.

“Sadly, however, none of these projects have been delivered up to date (2018) but the Federal Ministry of Power,Works and Housing continue to pay GE and Rockson Engineering on the said service contracts, apparently with the connivance of project staff of the Ministry of Power,” the petitioner alleged.

When contacted, Dan Asuquo, chairman, House Committee on Power, reiterated the resolve of the House towards upholding the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which empower the Parliament to expose corruption.

“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,” Asuquo noted.

The lawmaker said the National Assembly will insist on the refund of $1.348 billion alleged to have been defrauded the Nigerian government if investigation shows it to be justifiable.

“We will call for that refund, if that magnitude of padding, waste and corruption has been done. Why not, the have to pay. Thank God they’re international company,” he said.

On his part, Kayode Oladele, Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Crimes, assure that necessary consultation will be initiated with the anti-graft agency to ascertain the level of investigation.