The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reportedly invited the former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye, over his role in the $6 billion Mambila hydropower contract.
Naija News reported that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had accused Agunloye of mismanaging the power project during his tenure from 1999 to 2003 and failed to brief him on the state of the project.
In an interview with TheCable recently, Obasanjo claimed that Agunloye fraudulently awarded the contract for the power project without the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Obasanjo challenged Agunloye to tell Nigerians where he derived the authority to award a $6 billion contract to Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd in respect of the project in 2003.
In his response, Agunloye said the nature of the initial contract for the Mambilla Power Project, which was awarded as a Build, Operate and Transfer contract in May 2003 under his watch.
He said the government was not obliged to pay a kobo to Sunrise under the build, operate and transfer (BOT) agreement as it was to be fully funded by the newly registered company, whose declared assets were worth less than $2,000 at the time.
Agunloye was, however, silent on where and how he got authorization to commit the government to a $6 billion project when, according to Obasanjo, ministers could not approve more than N25 million when he was president.
But according to TheCable, Agunloye was quizzed by the EFCC over the controversy and a suspicious payment was reportedly traced to his bank account.
The news platform said a payment with the description “FRM LENO” was traced to his account after he committed the federal government to the disputed contract awarded to Sunrise Power Ltd, promoted by Leno Adesanya.
It was gathered that the EFCC discovered a number of transactions between Sunrise Power and government officials that it considers “inappropriate” and could have a material impact on the arbitration.
According to the news platform, there was a transfer made by a Sunrise Power official to Agunloye with the description “FRM LENO”, but Sunrise said it was a “cultural payment” to support the former minister’s medical expenses.
However, a further investigation by EFCC appeared to show that Agunloye spent the money on shopping and transportation around Orlando, Florida, in the United States, and not on medical expenses.
The discovery of the bank transfers was said to have triggered another investigation dating back to the 2000s.
However, the news platform claimed that some serving and former government officials would be arraigned in court over the matter.
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