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Reps to probe NDPHC over alleged contract scam, others


NDPHC
House of Representatives

*Investigate collapse of Delta Steel Company

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

ABUJA-House of Representatives at Wednesday plenary mandated its Committee on Power to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the operational and financial activities of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, NDPHC including all contracts awarded by the company since 2004.

The House is also conducting an investigation into the collapse of Delta Steel Company, DSC.

The resolutions of the House followed two separate motions moved by Reps. Chisom Dike and Ben Igbakpa from Delta State.

In his motion titled: “URGENT NEED TO INVESTIGATE THE AWARD OF CONTRACTS, PROJECTS EXECUTION AND PAYMENTS FOR COMPENSATIONS TO COMMUNITIES BY THE NlGER-DELTA POWER HOLDING COMPANY (NDPHC)”, Rep. Dike decried series of underhand dealings in the award and execution of contracts by NDPHC.

The lawmaker said that the House was worried that most of the contracts awarded by the NDPHC, including contracts for the engagements of consultants and insurance companies are in clear violation of the Public Procurement Act of 2007.

Dike also expressed concerns about the widespread cases of non-execution of contracts by contractors of the NDPHC some of which include the Lot 14 Lekki Ajah Transmission Line and Lot 8 of Ibiala Orlu Transmission Line.

According to the lawmaker, there are widespread allegations and controversies surrounding the award of contracts by the NDPHC for various projects including but not limited to contracts and payment of N350 million for additional works on Lot 14T Transmission Project, N244 million for extra works on New Abeokuta Transmission Line [Lot 14-E), N104 million for Papalanto Old Abeokuta New Abeokuta 132 KV DC Transmission line (Lot 14-C).

Dike noted that N84 billion was approved for payment of compensation to Communities Where transmission lines of power projects were to be laid.

“The House is disturbed that despite the claims that over N50 billion had been paid to communities, contractors were said to have been prevented from doing their works by the Communities over non-payment of compensation, even as there were allegedly other bogus payments made on compensation to communities, including #850 million as compensation to communities which has generated SO much controversy;

“Concerned that the manner in which the NDPHC has conducted its business for and on behalf of Nigerians, without corresponding results measured in terms of improvements in power supply over the years has deeply entrenched corruption, mismanagement and embezzlement of funds meant to be used for the development of the nation’s power sector;

“Recalls that it is the duty of this House to conduct investigation into any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws, as provided in Section 88 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Altered) and that we have sworn among other things to expose corruption and inefficiency”, the lawmaker said while leading the debate.

In adopting the motion, the House presided over by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila gave the committee 4 weeks within which to conclude the assignment and report back to the House for further action.

Similarly, the House also resolved to look into what caused the collapsed of the Niger Delta Steel company.

In his lead debate on the motion titled “Need to Investigate the Collapse of the Delta Steel Company (DSC)”, the mover, Rep. Ben Rollands Igbakpa recalled the controversial sale of the company in 2004 when BUA International Limited, Dangote Industries Limited, Niger- Benue Transport Company Limited, Osaka Steel Limited and Premium Steel and Mines Limited bided for the company.

He said that the firm that was later granted approval to purchase the company did not participate in the bidding process.

The lawmaker also recalled that the Senate had later recommended the rescission of the sale of Delta Steel Company and that individuals involved in the corrupt practices surrounding the sale of public enterprises including Delta Steel Company should further be investigated by Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC);

He said: “The House is conscious of the fact that though EFCC, in 2011, arrested four senior officials of Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited in connection with the allegation of sharp practices, till date, no one has been prosecuted, in fact, a human right group later wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari to revisit and refer the allegations of corruption and abuse of process in the privatisation of public enterprises in Nigeria between 1999 and 2011 to anti-graft agencies for further investigation;

“Also conscious that the sale/purchase agreement of Delta Steel Company stipulated that Global Infrastructure would hold 80 per cent of the company’s shares, while 10 per cent was allocated each to the DSC staff and the host communities, but the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) violated this rule by stalling the transaction that could have allowed Udu communities take possession of their minority shares for two years”, he said.

Igbakpa informed the House that in the beginning, Global Steel Holdings Limited promised to invest $450 million to double the production capacity of the company to 2.4 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) in a couple of years.

However, the pledge remained unfulfilled till its ownership of the company was revoked in 2008, adding that the company used DSC assets as collateral to acquire loans of more than N31 billion from Nigerian banks that were never repaid.

He added that despite the promise by Premium Steel to revive the DSC in a short time, operations at the plant are yet to begin two years after the purchase of the steel company leaving the whole complex deserted, except for gun-toting security men who guard the premises.

He appealed to the parliament to probe the issue in order the ascertain the true situation.

The appeal was later granted by the members adopted it.

Vanguard





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