N1.69trillion Rail Contract Scam: Reps To Commence Probe

N1.69trillion Rail Contract Scam: Reps To Commence Probe

Chris Steven, Abuja

The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on the alleged N1.69trillion Nigeria Railway Corporation contract scam,has concluded plans to  probe and expose those involved in the  scam.

It was also learnt that the committee may likely invite two former chairmen of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who were board chairmen,    Ministry of Transport, Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, a former minister and contractors involved in the contract.

Those to be summoned to explain their role they played in the contract, it was gathered are all men under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

It was also gathered that no proper accounts were kept by the major stakeholders involved in the processing, award and execution of the said contracts as they operated for almost two years without a board.

A lawmaker from the North-central zone, who pleaded anonymity and who
was privy to this development said there would  be no sacred cows as all those involved would be exposed before all Nigerians.

He said: “In light of the development, the former Minister of Transport, Alhaji Umar Idris, a former Senator from Gombe state, who was minister of Transport, two former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairmen, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje and Bamanga Tukur have questions to answer when we commence public hearing within the next two weeks.

“Nigerians deserve to know the truth as these were monies sourced from abroad and locally to better their lives via a good rail transport system.

“But what do we have today is a massive fraud as contractors in active collaboration with government officials supplied fourth hand coaches and other mechanical gadgets to further rubbish the rail system in Nigeria.

“The $841million loan secured from China Exim bank and SURE-P were not properly documented as there was no board for almost two years and the ministry single handedly spare headed the award of all the major contracts.

“The Ad-hoc committee will ask all the stakeholders how come a contract that was so heavily funded could not be completed in 2013 which was the contract due date.”

He further said: “This $841m is just for the Abuja/Kaduna rail road contracts while several billions of naira was expended on other various rail contracts nationwide.”

Recalled that the House had in a motion last week Wednesday brought by Hon. Solomon Ahwinawhi, (PDP, Delta) entitled: “Need To Investigate The Ministry of Transport And The Nigeria Railways Corporation, NRC, on the award of Contracts for Rehabilitation of Railway Tracks, Maintenance of Bridges and Procurement/Rehabilitation of Caches and Locomotives from 2010-2014.”

In his submission, Ahwinawhi had noted that “the  level of performance with respect to the 463km Port – Harcourt – Markurdi rail track, rehabilitation of the eastern line with the total sum of N19, 963, 752, 330 and out of which the NRC has paid N4, 017, 054, 841, 00, 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.

“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 per cent of the project completed when the entire project was envisaged to  have been completed in 2014, “he said.

The lawmaker had also said that the Lagos to Jebba track rehabilitation project was awarded at a contract sum of N12, 293. 390. 000 with the payments made so far at N11, 699. 999, 218 without any tangible work done adding that the same also goes for Jebba to Kano track rehabilitation which had a contract sum of N12, 169. 237. 337 with payments made to the tune of N10, 337. 023. 111.