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Alleged ₦42bn Railway Fraud: Former SGF, 2 Ex-PDP Chairmen Fingered

Memoranda from various stakeholders have started pouring in before the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee set up to investigate contract awards for the Rehabilitation of Railway tracks and the procurement of Coaches and Locomotives between 2010-2014. “Nigerians would be shocked at the level of massive frauds committed by highly placed government functionaries when the findings of this committee are made public,” a source close to the committee told Vanguard, yesterday.

Train - Abuja railway
According to the source, already, many good spirited members of the public have submitted detailed momeranda on how a few government functionaries literally stole several billions of Naira under the guise of rehabilitating the nation’s Railway network.

Sources said that a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF and two former National Chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who held very key positions on the Board of the NRC were said to have been fingered as having taken decisions that were less than in public interest in the rehabilitation project.

It was learnt that while it would be difficult for top management of the corporation and the Federal Ministry of Transport to claim ignorance in what went wrong some of them who were not involved have come forward to volunteer information on how much of the infractions were carried out. It was learnt that there were cases were coaches and locomotives procured were way far from specifications for which public funds were paid and that in some cases, payments which had already been made through the regular budgetary provisions were repeated through the SURE-P window.

As learnt the worse method through which those involved fleeced the nation was complete refusal to do jobs after collecting money for them. Consequently, out of a total contract sum of ₦79.337 billion for various segments of the rehabilitation, ₦42. 086 billion had allegedly been paid to the contractors but with very little work done.

The Abuja-Kaduna $841 million Rail Line being funded partly through the a $500 million loan from the China Exim Bank, has also suffered several completion date setbacks. It was alleged that of the total contract sum of ₦19,963,752,330.20 for the 463km Port Harcourt – Makurdi Rail Track Rehabilitation, ₦9,611,076,218.01 has been paid. It was claimed that no appreciable work has been done on the sector.

The Lagos to Jebba track rehabilitation project was awarded at a total contract sum of ₦12,293,390,000.00 out of which ₦1l ,699,999,218.00, has been allegedly been paid. Jebba to Kano track rehabilitation project had a total contract sum of ₦12,169,237,337 with payments so far made put at ₦10,337,023, 111.69 without any appreciable work done.

Zaria to Kaura track rehabilitation project with a total contract sum of ₦3 ,206,241 ,650 and payment of ₦1, 147,471,038.00 paid. Procurement rehabilitation of wagons, coaches and locomotives (narrow gauge) were projected at a total sum of ₦6,502,914,067.00 with ₦4,071,008,628.64 so far paid, all to no avail.

The track rehabilitation consultancy fee was ₦1,482,100.000.00 with payment made so far put at ₦718,205,192.00. Kuru to Maiduguri track rehabilitation project was awarded at ₦23, 720,359 ,034.00 with payment made so far being ₦6,499,618,120.55. The legislators are concerned that with the billions of funds sunk to upgrade the Railways Transport System, there was too little to show for it as the Locomotives and Coaches running on the nation’s tracks are still a relic of Modern Railway Transport.

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