by Kemi Busari,
The senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye of the All Progressives Congress, on Thursday called the attention of the Senate to alleged “monumental fraud” in the Ministry of Power, Work and Housing headed by Babatunde Fashola.
Mr. Melaye alleged that the Ministry squandered $385 million on projects not appropriated in the budget between 2013 and 2016.
He said that $300 million of the fund was given to IBEX while another $35 million was paid to General Electric and some others.
“Mr. President, in line with the anti-corruption posture of this chamber and especially now that our cries, observations are yielding dividends as expressly manifested in the case of Babachir Lawal, today, I bring to the attention of this Senate a monumental fraud in the power sector.
“In July 2013, the federal Government raised $1 billion from Eurobond issue. From the proceeds, $350 million was given to IBEX in 2014.
“Mr. President, this money was stolen in installments. As I speak to you, sometime last year again, the Ministry of Power came up with a term they call fast power. This indigested project is supposed to build new generating plants to add power to our grid.”
He sought the leave of the Senate to present a substantive motion on the issue while asking questions on how the Ministry spent the funds it received.
“Mr President, there are few questions we need to ask and that is why I need the nod of the Senate to bring a substantive motion to move in the next legislative day.
“These are the few questions: Up to date, there is no detail to build this new generating plant or a feasibility study, there is no appropriation by the National Assembly for these projects.
“The Ministry has spent so far $35 million on the Afam fast power project that has no appropriation or feasibility studies. How and when was this money appropriated, we need to find out. Out of this money, $29 million was purportedly paid to General Electric for turbines while $6 million was paid to others.
“These, among many other monumental frauds, are taking place. We need the Senate to investigate this.”
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki asked Mr. Melaye to present the issue as a motion on Tuesday after a voice vote in its favour.
Mr. Fashola could not be reached Thursday. His spokesperson, Hakeem Bello, did not respond to telephone calls.