Fashola in the eye of the storm, denies diverting $350m
- Senate insists on probe
Babatunde Fashola, Minister for Power, Works and Housing is in the eye of the storm following accusations that his ministry diverted about $35 million from the $350 million released to the Nigerian Electricity Trading Company from a July 2013 $1bn Eurobond.
Some people are already calling for his resignation, while group like the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), has demanded that he step aside to allow for a comprehensive audit and investigations of the power project fund scam.
According to the Senate who have insisted on investigating the matter, the money was diverted to some ‘Fast Power Projects’ that have not been appropriated by the National Assembly.
Fashola is also being invited before the Senate Committee on Public Accounts to provide a detailed account of revenue expended on Afam fast power project.
National Daily gathered that the $350 million was intended to backstop NBET with new investors by providing these investors with the assurance that NBET was a credit-worthy off-taker of power with the requisite capitalization to meet its obligations.
Already, $35million of the non-appropriated public funds have been spent on the aforementioned scheme, with $29million paid to General Electric for turbines, and $6million paid to other entities as ‘consultancy fees.’
However, Fashola in statement released on Friday said that the ministry was ready to provide full, factual and detailed response when formally invited by the Senate.
According to Fashola, before perception becomes reality, he felt compelled to make the Statement.
He said that NSIA had on Monday, Nov 6, issued a statement explaining that the money was not missing. The NSIA according to Fashola had stated also that the 350 million dollars had been invested and that interest had even accrued on the money.
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On Afam fast power project, Fashola said: “The sum and substance of it is that, it was an investment by the General Electric, a globally reputed Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), to invest in our country and support our effort to get good quick power under our roadmap of incremental, steady and uninterrupted power.”
“The investment was contingent on paying 27.9 million dollars, which was 15 per cent of 8 units of 30MW turbines each totaling 240MW valued at about 186.6 million dollars.”
According to him, this is verifiable just as works are ongoing on the site, civil and engineering, preparing to receive the turbines and install other equipment already at site.
“Unverified allegations such as the ones under discussion constitute an imminent threat to our investment climate.” Fashola said.