By Kingsley Okoye
The Minster of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has said that there was no fact in the allegation of diversion of 350 million dollars levelled against him and the ministry.
Fashola in a statement entitled: “Before Perception Becomes Reality,“ on Friday in Abuja, said that the ministry was ready to provide full, factual and detailed response when formally invited by the Senate.
The Senate had resolved to summon the minister over alleged diversion of 350 million dollars from the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
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.
According to Fashola, before perception becomes reality, I feel compelled to make this Statement.
“The sum and substance of the allegations to which the ministry will provide full, factual and detailed response when formally invited are that:
“ An amount in the region of 350 million dollars being part of a 1 billion dollars Eurobond facility taken in 2013 has gone missing or has been diverted.
“That the ministry had procured a contract for Afam fast power and paid 26 million dollars or thereabout for it.
“With all emphasis, I state that there is no factual basis for the allegations.
“The ministry, my staff and I have done nothing wrong and we will collaborate fully with the investigating committee when called upon.
“ I wasn’t a minister in 2013, and that when government raises a debt like the Eurobond, it is the Debt Management Office that manages the debt and not the ministry.“
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.
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.
“They offered to do this by providing Nigeria with mobile turbines of 600MW if we could find a location with gas and transmission evacuation infrastructure.
“The Afam power station fitted because it had transmission and evacuation facilities but all its turbines had been virtually run down.
“The investment was contingent on paying 27.9 million dollars, which was 15 per cent of 8 units of 30MW turbines each totalling 240MW valued at about 186.6 million dollars.
“This payment of 27.9 million dollars was made without breaching any law.“
He further said that the turbines have arrived Nigeria and currently at the Onne Port.
According to him, this is verifiable just as works are on going on the site , civil and engineering , preparing to receive the turbines and install other equipment already at site.
The minister said that his claims on progress made on the project could be verified by Nigerians, who may want to undertake an inspection of the project site.
He also said the project due to be inaugurated soon would add 240MW to the grid.
“We must be careful about what we say and do with regards to investments and investors, which we clearly need in all sectors of our developmental life and in particular in infrastructure and power.
“Unverified allegations such as the ones under discussion constitute an imminent threat to our investment climate.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there has been no wrong doing whatsoever,” Fashola said.