The $350million Eurobond facility for the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc is not missing, contrary to an observation by Senator Dino Melaye at plenary last week.
The cash, which is with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), was invested and the trial balance sheet is now over $380, 148,891.
It was learnt that the government was shocked that Melaye misled the Senate by alleging fraud in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
Tthe over $1billion Eurobond was sourced by the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, according to a fact sheet released yesterday which also indicated that out of the $1billion Eurobond, about $350million went to the NBET, about $150million to the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and about $500million for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The document indicated that since there was no “urgent need for the $350million by NBET” in January 2015, former Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala advised that it should be placed with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to yield interest.
Okonjo-Iweala, who was conscious of the transition to a new government, took the step to avoid the funds being tampered with.
The document stated: “As at period ended 30 September 2017, the total managed fund of NBET was $380, 148, 891 signaling an interest of over $30million.
“The breakdown of the investments is available at the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). No cash is either missing or stolen.
“No amount can be withdrawn by any supervising Minister or NBET except by the express approval of the President, who has not given such permission.
A top government source, who spoke in confidence, said: “I think the Senator should have been more diligent by asking for details from the appropriate ministry or agency instead of raising false alarm that the Buhari administration has spent the $350million. He could as well invoke the FOI Act to obtain all relevant documents.
“Melaye simply misled his colleagues by saying emphatically that the cash had been withdrawn and shared.”
On other issues raised, the government source added: “All the facts will be made available to the National Assembly.”
Melaye, who is expected to move a substantive motion on the $350million on Tuesday said: “In July 2013, the Federal Government raised $1billion from Eurobond issue from which $350 million was given to NBET (Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc) in 2014. This money was stolen in installments .”Sometime last year, again, the Ministry of Power came up with an idea of a project they called Afam Fast Power. This project is supposed to build new generating plants to add power to our grid.
“There are a few questions we need to ask and that is why I need the nod of the Senate to bring a substantive motion on the next legislative day.”
“Up till date, there is no detail on building new generating plants or a feasibility study. There is no appropriation by the National Assembly for these projects.
“The ministry has spent so far $35 million on the Afam Fast Power Project which has no appropriation or detailed feasibility study. How and when was this money appropriated? We need to find out. How was $29million purportedly paid to General Electric for turbines when $6 million was paid to others?”
”We need the Senate to investigate this after moving a substantive motion. I ask this house to give us the opportunity to continue with the true anti-corruption fight of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”