The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Railway Contracts Scam has invited a former Minister of Transport, Ibrahim Isa Bio, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), the Department of State Service (DSS), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and 27 contractors allegedly involved in the failed N1trillion railway contracts.
Those invited are expected to appear before the committee on Thursday, March 3, 2016 to explain their respective roles in the management of money meant for the rehabilitation of the railway sector.
Also invited are the acting Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and other stakeholders.
According to a source close to the committee, who confided in select journalists, the DSS was invited to give a vivid account of the recommendations it made to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation concerning how the rail contracts were poorly managed between a period of 2010 to 2014.
On the other hand, the OSGF would explain to the committee what happened to the investigative report submitted to it by the DSS.
As for the former minister Bio, who took over from Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke in 2009, he is expected to explain with valid documents his role in the award of the contract for the procurement of locomotives General Electric (GE) valued at about N12.5billion.
The source further explained that it was during the tenure of Mr Bio that the recently sacked MD of NRC, Engr. Seyi Sijuwade, was employed by the Presidency.
“So as you can see the man has a lot to tell the committee because he kick started the whole process in the first place”.
The EFCC according to the source will give the committee the full details of its findings on the rail contract scam.
As for the acting MD of NRC, government is a continuum and he has to give account of what he knows under oath and produce all the contractors”.
“The contractors too must tell the committee all they have done with convincing evidence of the state of the contracts they executed”.
When contacted chairman of the adhoc committee, Hon. Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonnayinma, confirmed that the stakeholders have been invited and they will be properly guided during the investigative hearing on Thursday.
He however denied a report published in one of the national dailies, saying the story was designed to malign his committee and allow those mounting pressure on them to bury the investigative hearing to succeed.
Agbonayinma further explained that the said report was malicious, misleading and was the handiwork of 5th columnists.
He said “it is never done in the legislative parlance to prepare an interim report as the norm is to submit such a report on the floor of the House for more legislative input”.
On the contractors he said the need to invite the contractors is important because efforts by the committee to reach the contractors before now proved abortive.
“I will always emphasise the fact that we are not out to witch hunt anybody provided your hands are not greased with locomotive engine oil laced with fraud.