$1.3bn power scam: CACOL wants Fashola to step aside
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), has demanded that the Minister for Power, Housing and Works, Babatunde Fashola step aside to allow for a comprehensive audit and investigations of the $1.3bn power project fund scam.
Recall that the Senate had on Thursday moved a motion to investigate the ministry over an alleged arbitrary, reckless and unlawful spending of over $35 million ware-housed by Nigeria Electricity Bulk Trading Company (NBET) from a pool of $1Billion Eurobond issue accessed by the administration of President Jonathan in 2013
National Daily gathered that as a confidence-building measure, this $350million was domiciled in the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) for structured reinvestments in a low risk manner that will provide NBET with the necessary liquidity.
However, reports have it that there have been ongoing attempts by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and House to retrieve this $350million, and divert the funds to some ‘Fast Power Projects’ that have not been appropriated by the National Assembly.
In a statement signed by the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran, the group said in most civilized democratic society when allegations run amuck insinuating impropriety in handling of public funds, the officer with whom the fund is kept in trust, is expected to honourably resign or step aside from active duties.
According to him, this would allow for investigations to be carried out without hindrances or mutilation instigated by the alleged public officer, and more-over, it also ensure that the activities of the public office go on without distractions that may arise from the probe of the officer.
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“We at the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, do not only throw our support behind the invitation of the joint Senate Committee to invite the Minister for clarification, we call on the lawmakers to conduct a comprehensive audit of the $1billion Eurobond as their might have been other infractions committed without been yet exposed to the public glare.”
Adeniran said it beats one’s imagination how a supposed senior legal luminary could contemplate a policy actions without rudimentary backing of due process and law. “This is not surprising however as the Minister has once been queried by the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) for constructing roads and bridges without the necessarily following the statutory due processes and approvals.”
While calling for the minister to step aside during the investigation, CACOL said if the minister and others are found culpable after a comprehensive investigation, they should be appropriately reported and hand over to the anti-corruption agencies for further investigation and prosecution.