The Probe Not Targeted At Obasanjo – EFCC Source
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to probe the controversy surrounding the $16 billion power project scandal during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. This is according to a media report by PoliticsNGR.
The report stated that the anti-graft agency may invite two ex-ministers, former top officials of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), present and past officials of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company and all the people recommended for investigation by a committee of the House of Representatives.
According to PoliticsNGR, a team in EFCC was already collating facts and figures at at press time and that a top source, who pleaded anonymity, stated that the investigation was not targeted at the ex-President.
The source quoted said, “We are looking into all the allegations and issues surrounding the power projects.”
“We will conduct a comprehensive and forensic probe to ascertain the true status of all the projects. This investigation will actually ascertain how much has been spent so far.”
“We have many figures being bandied about as follows: $16 billion, $13.278 billion, $10.3 billion, $8.4 billion and $8.55 billion.”
“This is not an investigation aimed at ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo or anybody. We have to step in to set the records straight.”
“Already, a team is collating facts and figures on these projects as part of the preliminary level/ bend of the investigation.”
The report also stated further that the EFCC may also conduct a forensic and comprehensive investigation into the alleged $16 billion power projects.
NIGERIA NEWS gathered from the reports that the scope of the investigation includes the total cost of the projects, sum of money withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA), total number of contracts awarded, extent of compliance with due process and status of the projects execution.
While answering questions, the source stated that, “We will retrieve the report of the House of Representatives Committee which investigated the power projects. The House actually recommended 18 top former public officers, including two ex-ministers, for investigation by anti-graft agencies, especially EFCC and ICPC.”
“Many salient issues were raised for investigation by the House Committee, which was headed by Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.”
The Ndudi Elumelu Committee was set up by the House on January 31, 2008 to look into the amount of money spent on power projects. The committee, in its report, stated that about $13.278 billion was spent on power projects between 1999 and 2007.
However, the committee raised the following issues:
-All NIPP payments were made without following due process.
-No meaningful progress was made in the execution of power contracts
-Officials rushed to pay contractors in full even before engineering design for the projects have been completed and approved
-NIPP contracts were not only overpriced in comparison with PHCN contracts, they were also wide off the markwidespread evidence of systematic over-scoping of projects in order to inflate costs both in PHCN and
-NIPP Distribution EPC contracts were awarded at costs averaging about 10 times the norm when compared to PHCN contracts.
The committee, therefore, recommended the termination of 13 contracts and a review of 10 projects. It also asked that 15 contracting and consulting companies be investigated by the appropriate agencies.