N42bn Contract: Fashola, Lawmakers Disagrees Over Fraud Allegations

The Minister of Works, Housing and Power, Babatunde Fashola has rejected allegations that the Ministry of Power fraudulently awarded an N42billion contract.

The Minister made this clarification on Thursday when the joint committee summoned him to explain the role of his Ministry in the N42 billion rural electrification projects allegedly awarded without due process.

Fashola had a faceoff with the lawmakers during the proceeding as he maintained that the project followed due process.

“There is no contract award for N42billion. There is no such award. So, it is really a matter of whether you want us to continue.

But let me say emphatically and clearly, there is no fraud here,” he said.

The lawmakers then enquired if the project has been suspended in line with the House Resolution when the Chairman House Committee on Power, Dan Asuquo, asked the Minister if he obeyed the resolution of the House.

“If you have not obeyed the resolutions of the House, then we don’t even have any need of your appearance, it means you don’t have regards for the institution of the National Assembly.”

Fashola in swift response said, “Mr Chairman, as I said, I didn’t see the document you referred to, so to ask me to answer whether I have obeyed what I did not see, really I don’t know what you expect me to say.”

The Minister during the one-day investigative hearing appeared alongside the Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency, some heads of Federal Universities and officials of non-governmental organisations.

The committee also investigated the fast power programme, for accelerated gas production for power generation.

The Minister in response to this said the programme was an investment and authorization was sought and received.

“It was an investment, we sought authorization, we got authorization. The side that needed budget was the switchyard to evacuate the power, we got the appropriation from you, we implemented it in accordance with the BPP procurement.

And all the documents that showed the certificate of no objection are in the report that is filed before you,” Fashola said.

The lawmakers, therefore, insist that they are interested in ensuring that the projects are carried out in line with relevant laws and as prudently as soon as they are expected to submit their findings to the house for consideration.