As the arms deal fraud investigation is ongoing, many top politicians, members or allies of the opposition party PDP are being unveiled as fraudsters involved in the said embezzlement, another investigation that may implicate the allies and members of the ruling party APC has being brought to light.
Four former chairmen of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) have been summoned by the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating the Rail Transport Contracts over alleged N1 trillion failed rail contracts. According to reports, the following people summoned by the committee are expected to appear before it on Thursday:
Three former national chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP): Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Abubakar Kawu Baraje, currently 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 formerly led NRC at different times as well as the newly appointed Minister of Transport Romiti Amaechi.
The chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Hon. Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonayinma while addressing journalists yesterday stated that the fundamental reason for the investigation was not to witch-hunt anybody but to get Nigerians informed on how public money is disbursed.
In the words of Agbonayinma:
“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,”.
The House of Representatives had in a October 14, 2015 resolution, given its Committee on Transport the authority to investigate contracts awarded for the restoration of rail tracks, standard gauge, bridges, coaches, wagons and locomotives between 2010 and 2014.
The Leadership reports, that the motion on the NRC and its contractors was a follow-up 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”
The Honorable had revealed to the House then, that the level of performance, with respect to the 463km Port Harcourt to Markurdi rail track 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 carried out with 400km abandoned and the total money released for the contract so far is N9, 611, 076, 218.
Ahwinawhi further stated: “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. 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.