Sunday, 6 December 2015

House of Reps summons Bamanga Tukur and others over failed N1trillion rail contracts

Bamanga Tukur
The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating Rail Transport Contracts has summoned four former chairmen of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to appear before it on Thursday over alleged N1 trillion failed rail contracts.

Those to appear before the committee include three former national chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP): Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Abubakar Kawu Baraje, who is now an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, and Dr. Halliru Bello, who is now the party’s BoT chairman; with another party stalwart, Amb. Ladan Shuni, who are all ex-bosses of NRC at different times.

They, along with the newly appointed Minister of Transport Romiti Amaechi, are expected to appear before the House of Representatives investigative panel on Thursday to give account of their stewardships.

According to the chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Hon. Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonayinma, in a chat with journalists yesterday, the essence of the probe was not to witch-hunt anybody but to let Nigerians know how public fund is being spent.
“In the court of law, you are innocent until proven guilty. We will adhere to fair hearing but anyone found wanting will be exposed.
“This 8th Assembly members are committed in putting Nigeria first in our legislative duties as well performing our oversight functions.
“Like I said earlier, this rail contract probe is not primarily designed to rubbish anybody but we must unearth how every kobo was spent and let Nigerians know how it was spent”.
“The Minister of Transport, Hon Rotimi Amaechi was also invited to tell us all he knows though he just assumed office but you know government is a continuum,” Agbonayinma said.
Recall that the House of Representatives had in a October 14, 2015 resolution mandated its Committee on Transport to probe contracts awarded for the rehabilitation of rail tracks, standard gauge, bridges, coaches, wagons and locomotives between 2010 and 2014.

The resolution on the NRC and its contractors was sequel to the adoption of a motion by Hon. Solomon Ahwinawhi (PDP, Delta) tagged: “Need to Investigate the Ministry of Transport and the Nigeria Railways Corporation on the Award of Contracts for Rehabilitation of Railway Tracks, Maintenance of Bridges and Procurement/Rehabilitation of Coaches and Locomotives from 2010-2014”.
Ahwinawhi had told the House then, that the level of performance, with respect to the 463km Port Harcourt to Markurdi railtrack rehabilitation of the eastern line with N19,963,752,330, out of which NRC has paid N4,017,054,841, while SURE-P paid N5,594,021,377 and only about 3km of ballast has been done with 400km left undone and the total money released so far is N9, 611, 076, 218.
He also added that the Lagos to Jebba track rehabilitation project was awarded at a contract sum of N12,293,390 with the payments made so far at N11,699,999,218, without any tangible work done, adding that the same goes for Jebba to Kano track contract.
“The Abuja-Kaduna rail project had 841 million US dollars as the project cost, out of which the China EXIM Bank provided a loan of 500 million US dollars with about 25 percent of the project completed, when the entire project was envisaged to have been completed in 2014.“

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