15 January 2015, Abuja – The House of Representatives has directed its Committee on Steel to investigate alleged increase in monthly salaries of workers of the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company from N228 million to N3.4 billion.
The House at its session yesterday mandated the committee to probe the current development and report to the House within two weeks.
The motion was adopted after its presentation by Hon. Abbas Tajudeen entitled: ‘Need to investigate the expenditure of huge sum of N3.4 billion monthly on payment of salaries to staff of the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company.’
Tajudeen in his submission expressed concern over a report last year that quoted the Chairman of Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, Aliyu Kola Belgore, that the sum of N3.4 billion was being spent monthly to pay salaries in the moribund company.
He equally noted that there was a twist in another report published in September, 2014, where the Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ISSAN, in conjunction with Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria, TEWUN, addressed a press conference claiming that the monthly wage bill for 2,900 staff of the company was N288 million and not N3.4 billion as alleged.
This discrepancy, he noted, shows that some individuals are exploiting the dire state of things presently at the multi-billion dollar project to rip the country of billions of naira.
Tajudeen further disclosed that “the provisions of Section 88(2) (b) of the Constitution, which empowers the National Assembly to direct or cause to be directed an investigation aimed at exposing corruption, inefficiency or waste in the administration of funds appropriated by it.”
He said, “Despite that the company was conceived and built with the aim of facilitating industrialisation and economic transformation of the country, it has failed to fulfill that expectation, hence the engagement of U.S. consultants and Indian technical contracts for 10 years.”