The National Assembly has prioritized the probe of an alleged $1.348bn power sector fraud leveled against General Electric (GE) and Rockson Engineering by ten Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
This is as the chairman of the House of Representatives on Power, Rep. Dan Asuquo stated the likelihood of pushing for a refund of money the country was allegedly defrauded of.
The Civil Society Organisations in a petition dated 26th September, 2018 and received in the office of the Acting Chairman EFCC, Ibrahim Magu on the 27th September, 2018 listed alleged infractions by the two firms.
The CSOs include: Guardians of Democracy and Development , Civil Society Group for Accountability, Empowerment For Unemployed Youth Initiative and Probity, Transparency Advocacy Development Initiative, Economic Development, Citizens Alert for Development, Initiative for Leadership and others.
The CSOs alleged that GE and Rockson Engineering, “defrauded Nigeria of $1.348 billion over and above the standard international price of single cycle GE frame 9 turbines and caused the country the loss of 1349MW of electric power to the National grid for a period over 6 years…”
Speaking of particular contract, they stated: “Whereas GE supplied the turbines referred to above , that is, 18 nos, GE frame 9 X 126 MW turbines for tolal sum of 404 million USD, in the case of Agbema, Amoku and Gberain the same GE supplied 9 nos GE frame turbines of 126MW through Rockson Engineering at a whooping sum of $1.55billion USD.
“In other words, while GE supplied 18 units at $404USD in 2007, the same GE, as a consortium with Rockson Engineering supplied only 9 units of the same turbines at $1.55billion USD.”
In their 10- petition, titled: “Massive fraud, financial crimes and economic sabotage perpetrated against Nigeria by General Electric International, Rockson Engineering Nigeria Ltd and their associates resulting in the crippling of the Power Sector,” the CSOs said while the EFCC was investigating Rockson Engineering Nigeria Ltd in 2009 of fraud involving the sum of over N347 billion, GE and Rockson Engineering Nigeria Ltd entered into a Consortium Agreement.
The petitioners said in spite of over $20 billion invested in the Power sector since 1999 to date by the Federal Government, “the Nigerian power situation continue to wobble due largely to the deliberate activities of GE and its conspirators who have sabotaged the efforts of the federal government.”
They further stated: ” it is quite saddening to note that General Electric International and her Nigerian business partner Rockson Engineering Nigeria Ltd ( Which now hides under the nest of a corruptly contrived Consortium with GE) have chosen the inglorious of continuing in leading this unholy pack of looters having bribed their way out of the appropriate sanctions that should ordinarily have been visited on them.
“We are further disenchanted at the fact that General Electric and Rockson engineering still continue to bleed Nigeria of direly needed funds through highly over inflated contracts skewed in a manner that they are doomed to fail such that the duo can maintain Nigeria as a feasting ground through a never ending circle of fraudulent activities that stand to Nigeria’s development with negative economic consequences that further exacerbate the unemployment situation.”
Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Crimes, Rep. Kayode Oladele and Rep. Asuquo have averred that there is need to look into the weighty allegations contained in the petitions sent to the EFCC.
However Oladele expressed the need to be briefed by the EFCC on the matter, but Asuquo while speaking on the need for an investigation said: ” I remember the President said the National Assembly has sat there and they’re not doing anything. It’s not true, National Assembly has done its work, it has come out with a report. The report is there for anybody to see and use.
“If you talk about Rockson in collaboration with GE, they have issues in which Nigerians should ask questions. If somebody is not performing, the law is there. We cannot promote the fleecing of the taxpayers’ money. if somebody is irresponsible, the law is clear, you blacklist and terminate, as long as you’ve kept your own part of the contract.”
The lawmaker disclosed that the National Assembly will insist on the refund of USD 1. 348 bn alleged to have been defrauded the Nigerian government if investigation shows it to be justifiable.
” We will call for that refund, if that magnitude of padding, waste and corruption has been done. Why not, they have to pay. Thank God they’re an international company.”