Monday, January 21, 2013

N2.3bn scam: Anenih to appear before Reps next week

N2.3bn scam: Anenih to appear before Reps next weekChairman of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Tony Anenih, is to appear before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts next week over an allegation that he inflated a N2.3 billion road contract while he was the Minister of Works.
The committee is awaiting Anenih’s testimony to confirm a 2006 report by the Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF). Chairman of the Committee, Hon Solomon Olamilekan, disclosed the Committee’s decision to invite Chief Anenih at the weekend. Olamilekan said: “We will formally invite Anenih to come and explain to us how about N2.3billion remained largely unaccounted for while he was the Minister of Works.
“We want him to come so that we can conclude our findings because he has a case to answer. If he does not come, it will make our findings inconclusive.” On Anenih’s claim that the committee was yet to formally invite him, the chairman said: “Yes, we are going to invite unfailingly.”
Hon. Olamilekan added that permanent secretaries of the nine states Managing Basin Authorities had questions to answer on the disappearance of N993 million before the committee.
The legislator said: “These men will give account of the money because some of them have been retired from service and they are still working. “Some have been acting for over a period of six months, we know the number of months that they can act. “
Olamilekan recalled that the former Minister of Works was alleged to have stolen N2.3billion earmarked for a road project in Nassarawa State in 2006. He, however, threatened that the committee may seek the services of Interpol to arrest the contractor, Torino Internazionale Nigeria Limited, for fleeing the country after collecting N1.8 billion without executing the road project.
The lawmaker explained that Chief Anenih would be invited in regard of a memorandum he presented to the then Federal Executive Council (FEC) during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo which made the government to award the contract in disregard to an earlier advice that the construction company that won the bid was not competent to handle it.
The Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Samuel Ukura, in a 2006 audit report, alleged that the failed road contract was awarded at the cost of N2.3 billion of which N552 million was paid before the contract was terminated.
The contractor later went to court and obtained court judgment of N1.3 billion against the Federal Government for terminating the contract.

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