Senate uncovers N16bn fraud in power ministry

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The senate committee on power says it discovered duplication amounting to N16 billion in the budget of the ministry of power, works and housing.

The lawmakers wondered why two items listed in the budget of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) also appeared in that of the power ministry.

The items in question are the N4 billion earmarked for Kashimbilla transmission and N12 billion counterparts funding for transmission lines and substation projects.

The senators expressed their concerns on Monday when Mustapha Baba Shehuri, minister of state for power appeared before the committee to defend the budget.

Speaking at the meeting, Adamu Aliero, senator representing Kebbi central, said the figures are “misleading”.

He said: “The N4 billion and N12 billion appeared on TCN budget when they came to defend their budget.

“Why are you presenting the same now? The figure is misleading.”

On his part, Bukar Mustapha, senator representing Katsina north, said the Kashimbilla item had nothing to do with the power ministry.

“Kashimbilla budget has nothing do to with the ministry. There are many, this has been the problem of the power sector,” he said.

Clifford Ordia, senator representing Edo central, wondered why N888 million would be earmarked for vehicles.

“I need to understand this thing. Look at the different pages. You earmarked N120 million, N288 million and N480 million for the purchase of vehicles. I do not understand. Are these vehicles different? If you add up this figure, it gives you about N888 million,” he said.

“You also said that you want to spend N100 million on transfers of office files. How do you intend to do that? The people in your office, what have they been doing?

“I can also see from your estimates here that you captured another item for ICT, different from the N100 million for transfer of files. You need to explain these things.”

Enyinnaya Abaribe, senator representing Abia south and chairman of the committee, said a “comprehensive” list would be sent to the ministry to address the grey areas.

Abaribe adjourned the meeting after asking Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, to appear before it at a new date.

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