The Senate has summoned the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), to explain alleged plan to get $350m domiciled in the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to finance electricity projects.
The lawmakers specifically criticised Fashola’s ministry for allegedly spending $35m out of the money on power projects without approval by the National Assembly.
The decision followed the adoption of a motion entitled, ‘Monumental Fraud in the Power Sector’ moved by Senator Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi West) on Wednesday.
Granting a prayer of the motion, the Senate mandated its Senate committees on Power; and Public Accounts to invite Fashola, “to render a detailed account in terms of public funds spent on the Fast Power Projects (Afam Power Project in particular); evidence of feasibility study indicating the viability of the projects; requisite appropriation by the National Assembly as required by the constitution; and the controversial presidential approval for the projects.”
The upper chamber also mandatd same committees “to investigate and consider summoning the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigeria Electricity Bulk Trading Company, etc. to generally establish the status of the funds ($350m) and to report back to the Senate within two weeks.”
The Senate also unanimously granted the prayer to “direct the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to stop or suspend all attempts or efforts to pressurise the NSIA to release $350m meant for NBET to the ministry for use on the controversial fast power projects.”
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks, said the issues had previously been raised concerning the power sector in the chamber.
He also said the law establishing the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority was due for a review.
Saraki’s suggestion on the review of the NSIA Establishment Act was presented as an additional prayer and it was unanimously granted.