House to probe Mambilla hydro contract inflation

*Mambilla plateau hydropower project.

*Mambilla plateau hydropower project.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

01 October 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The House of Representatives has resolved to probe alleged contract inflation for Mambilla multi-purpose dam and hydroelectric power project.

This followed a motion brought under order of the day to the plenary yesterday, by Hon. Austin Chukwukere.

The lawmaker had noted that in order to promote economic growth through power generation, the Federal Government initiated various reforms in the power sector, which included privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, creation of the Mambilla Multi-Purpose Dam, the
Hydroelectric Power Project and management of Donga River to generate 3,050 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.

He said the sum of $6,109,729, 609 (six billion, one hundred and nine million, seven hundred and twenty-nine thousand, six hundred and nine dollars), was estimated for the power project out of which the Federal Government would provide 15 per cent, while the remaining sum would be provided by the contractor.

The project, he said, was to be executed in two phases, while the first phase was strictly for engineering design, the second phase would include construction that would last a period of 60 months.

Chukwukere expressed worry that while the first phase of the project was duly awarded and completed by the companies contracted for the job, contract for the second phase was alleged to have been awarded by the then Minister of Power without recourse to due process – the Procurement Act, Fiscal Responsibility Act and other extant laws for award of contracts.

He was also worried that the alleged contract was awarded at the cost of $6 billion, apparently without recourse to competitive bidding, which was the hallmark of diligence, transparency and accountability in the award of such huge contracts, thus giving a feeling that the sum may have been inflated.

The lawmaker expressed concern that the reforms in the power sector so far have not yielded the required capacity for the sustenance of stable power generation, distribution and transmission.
He therefore urged the House to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the conception and award of the Mambilla Multi-purpose Dam and Hydroelectric Power Project in the light of the allegation that due process and transparency were not observed in the award of the project and as well, identify any infringements of existing law and recommend amendments, if any to forestall re-occurrence.

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