Four Past Chairmen Of Nigeria Railway Are To Explain To Reps Their Roles In An Alleged Contract Scam Of Over N1trillion At The Corporation
House of Representatives ad hoc committee on rail transport has summoned four past chairmen of the Nigerian Rail Corporation (NRC) over an alleged N1 trillion contract scam.
Those affected by the summons are former national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Bamanga Tukur, former chairman of defunct nPDP and now an All Progressives Congress (APC) Chieftain, Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Ambassador Ladan Shuni and Alhaji Haliru Bello, also of the PDP leadership.
The former chairmen of NRC are expected to appear before the House investigative panel on Thursday to give account of their stewardship and state what they knew of the deal.
Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Hon. Johnson Agbonayinma, at an interaction over the weekend, said essence of the probe is not to witchhunt any one but to let Nigerians know how their taxes were 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 to put Nigeria first in our legislative duties as well performing our oversight function.
“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 first investigative hearing starts on Thursday and we have invited all stakeholders to come and tell us all they know on this matter.
“The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi was also invited to tell us all he knows though he just assumed office but you know government is a continuum”, he said.
The House of Representatives, had on October 14 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 move was sequel to a motion by Solomon Ahwinawhi 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 Coaches and Locomotives from 2010- 2014”.
Ahwinawhi had disclosed that the 463km Port Harcourt-Markurdi rail track rehabilitation of the eastern line was awarded for N19,963,752,330, out of which NRC has paid N4,017,054,841, while SURE-P paid N5,594,021,377 but only about 3km of ballast has been done with 400km left undone. He said total amount released so far was N9, 611, 076, 218.
“The Abuja-Kaduna rail project had $841 million as the project cost, out of which the China EXIM Bank provided a loan of $500 million with about 25 percent of the project completed, when the entire project was envisaged to have been completed in 2014”, he added.
He also said the Lagos-Jebba track rehabilitation project was awarded at a contract sum of N12, 293,390 with N11, 699, 999,218 paid so far without any tangible work done adding that the same goes for Jebba-Kano.