Senate summons Fashola over $35m power project

Senate summons Fashola over $35m power project

The Senate has summoned Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, over $35 million power project.

On Thursday, Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi west, alleged that in 2016, the ministry spent the amount on the Afam fast power project without the approval of the national assembly.

He also said a sum of $350 million ‎raised for a $1 billion Eurobond was spent by the ministry in 2013.

The upper legislative chamber had mandated a committee to ascertain the status of $350 million released to the Nigeria Electricity Bulk Trading Company (NBET) by the federal government.

The resolutions of the senate were sequel to a motion sponsored by Melaye.

Moving the motion on the floor of the senate on Wednesday, the senator said the $350 million had been with Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) since 2014.

He said there is now a “desperate attempt” by the ministry to retrieve the fund and divert same to fast power project.

“The sum of $350 million was taken by the federal government out of the proceeds of the July 2013 Eurobond issue released to Nigeria Electricity Bulk Trading Company (NBET) Plc as shareholder contribution to shore up its capitalization,” he said.

“$350 million was domiciled with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) for reinvestment in low risk investment and structured in a manner that NBET can call for funds at short notice when required.

“This fund has been with NSIA since 2014 and has helped build market confidence especially among new investors in the electricity market who see NBET’s positive balance sheet as a form of security that their investments are safe and that N BET has the wherewithal to meet its payment obligations.

“There is now a desperate attempt by the federal ministry of power, works and housing to retrieve this fund and divert same to fund the so-called Fast Power Projects which the ministry has already spent $35 million of public funds not appropriated by the national assembly.”

He said there was the need to bring the ministry to order regarding its “planned diversion” of $350 meant for NBET.

Melaye said the minister should be made to provide a detailed account of the funds spent on the “controversial fast power projects”.

The senate adopted the motion after it was put to a voice vote by Senate President Bukola Saraki.

Fashola is expected to appear before the senate committees on public accounts and power.

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