Fashola responds to Dino Melaye’s corruption allegations

Babatunde Raji Fashola
Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has condemned what he described as ‘unverified allegations’ raised by a senator against his ministry.

Dino Melaye, Kogi-APC, had first as a petition, and later as a motion, accused the ministry of mismanaging funds to the tune of $35 million and another attempt to break away with $350 million Eurobond.

Reacting to these allegations, the minister in a statement he personally signed said he will cooperate with the Senate as he and his staff has done nothing wrong in management of the said fund.

“With all emphasis, I state that there is no factual basis for the allegations,” he said. “The ministry, my staff and I have done nothing wrong and we will collaborate fully with the investigating committee when called upon.”

Mr. Fashola noted that he was not a minister in 2013, the period for which the senator claimed the funds were received. He also said the responsibility of managing government debt like Eurobond is that of the Debt Management Office and not his ministry.

He alleged an ulterior motive in the presentation of the allegations as the senator made different allegations while raising it as a petition and later during its presentation as a motion.

“The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) had on Monday, 6th November 2017 issued a statement on the front page of The Nation Newspaper explaining that the money was not missing, stating also that the $350 million had been invested and that interest had even accrued on the money.

“If there was no ulterior motive for the allegation, this was enough reason for a reconsideration of the presentation of the motion on the floor of the Senate on the 8th of November 2017.

“But the story seemed to have changed from “missing money” last week, to a “desperate attempt to retrieve the money “, this week.”

For the Afam Fast Power project which the senator accused his ministry of spending $35 milion without appropriation and feasibility study, Mr. Fashola explained that it was kickstarted as an investment by a U.S. firm, General Electric, to boost power supply in the country.

“They offered to do this by providing Nigeria with mobile turbines of 600MW if we could find a location with Gas and Transmission evacuation infrastructure. The Afam Power Station fitted because it had transmission and evacuation facilities but all its turbines had been virtually run down.

“The investment was contingent on paying $27,990,000 million which was 15% of 8 (eight) units of 30MW turbines each totalling 240MW valued at about $186,600,000:00.

“This payment of $27.9m was made without breaching any law.

“At this moment, the turbines have arrived Nigeria and currently at the Onne Port. This is verifiable just as works are on going on the site – civil and engineering – preparing to receive the turbines , and install other equipment already at site.”

Describing it as the fastest power project when delivered, the minister said the project will add 240MW to the grid when commissioned.

He added that investors do not require parliamentary approval to invest in the country while cautioning the Senate against pushing out unverified information as it poses “an imminent threat to our investment climate.”

HOW IT STARTED

News of the alleged fraud first emanated from the floor of the Senate on November 2 when Mr. Melaye alleged that the ministry squandered $385 million on projects not appropriated in the budget between 2013 and 2016.

He said that $300 million of the fund was given to the Nigerian Electricity Bulk Trading Company, NBET, while another $35 million was paid to General Electric and some others.

“In July 2013, the federal government raised $1 billion from Eurobond issue. From the proceeds, $350 million was given to NBET in 2014.

“Mr. President, this money was stolen in installments. As I speak to you, sometimes last year again, the Ministry of Power came up with a term they call fast power. This indigested project is supposed to build new generating plants to add power to our grid. The Ministry has spent so far $35 million on the Afam fast power project that has no appropriation or feasibility studies,” he said.

However, presenting it as a motion on Wednesday, November 8, the senator said the ministry had been making frantic efforts to secure the release of $350 million domiciled in the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority to finance electricity projects.

He alleged that the ministry is mounting pressure on NBET to retrieve this fund ($350 million) and divert same to fund the Fast Power Projects.

The Senate mandated its committees on power and public accounts to invite Mr. Fashola, to render an account of funds spent on the project.


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  • Isyaku Muhammad

    Where is Dino? Fire back now!

    • Voice of Truth

      This is a seriuos matter not to be swept under the carpet like many others. We need to know how government business is being run with our money. The reason why our econony is sick and life span of an average Nigerian is short is lack of power it we think deep. We need accountability and professionalism in government business, Dino or no Dino. Are there no professionals and experts in energy who can be invited to supervise the power sector instead of a Non professional who could do better in other sector? Is it not a shame that the three ministries being run by the Minister have not really impacted on the citizens. Our roads are kidnappers den and death traps due to ditches. Gone are the days we used to enjoy traveling by roads, watching the trees running after our vehincles as we journey in the jungles, appreciating the vast God given vegetations across the country. Housing is no more a topic in settlement geography, power is gulping billions of dollar with little to show for it. When are we going to correct the past wrongs by doing one thing right at a time. We are fed up with stories. Countries with less financial resources are fixing their problems. It seems to me that we don’t know our priorities on how to tackle our challenges. Education, health, water, manufacturing, security, etc are not being managed well. Where are likes of our visionary leaders who were in their 20s and 30s laid foundation for the future of this country. If we continue this way, when will Nigeria be great? Hmmm just mussying. Yoruba ronu.

  • Absolutely Sane

    Dino is drowning man seeking all means to regain relevance. I don’t think any Nigerian should take him and any of his type serious at any point in time.

  • popson35

    I do not know the type of senators we have in Nigeria. Some of them will just open their mouths without verfing issues.

  • Isaac Azor

    It’s unfortunate that the Senate and Saraki would accept all nonsense issues raised by it’s fake members! In this case, probably because, Dino is a friend to Saraki or they are co-travellers!!

  • Tosin

    Did Dino do due diligence before this allegations & motions? Has he checked the Onne port to verify that the turbines are truly there? Is it true that $27.9m was paid without breaching any law/regulation? Dino didn’t touch on any of these specifics.
    Lawmakers need to understand that Nigerians have no patience for any grandstanding & propaganda fabricated just to frustrate investments designed to alleviate our endless sufferings. Hopefully this is not Dino trying to gain relevance, we want progress not propaganda. Anyway, we’re waiting to enjoy Fashola’s lecture to some ignoramus.

    • Gary

      The FOI Act was passed into law under Jonathan. It is the law but mostly honored by its breach.

      Even Fashola himself refused FOI requests to provide details of Lagos State spending when he was Governor.
      He’s now a victim of Dino Melaye’s ignorant activism and being a Saraki crony to make baseless and uninformed charges on the Senate floor.

      Hopefully, the good people of his Kogi district will elect a more intelligent person with gravitas as Senator in 2019. The fellow is not fit for purpose as a Senator, to put it bluntly.

    • Charlie

      Instead of castigating the senator (no matter how a lowlife he may be), perhaps we should ask Fashola how $27.9m is 15% of a 240mw turbine that will normally cost $50m at the most. The industry rule of thumb for a complete gas powered power plant ranges from $500k to $1.2m. A turbine is a key component of a plant but it cost is bit more than a fifth of the cost of the whole plant.
      Another question is why are you replacing turbines that can be rebuilt in a country with abundant cheap labor for a fraction of replacement when you have so much need for additional capacity? It Is just like replacing the engine of your car instead tuning It up.
      The power problem in Nigeria will persist as long as we have incompetent, corrupt and wasteful people controlling the power sector.
      By the way, G.E. is Nigeria to make money not for charity and they will take us to the cleaners If we allow them.
      I don’t see why any Nigerian will defend these fools.

      • Gary

        Thanks for providing us with the right information to assess the issues involved in the power industry.
        You have done in just one post the job that Dino Melaye and his paid staff should have provided him before going on the floor to raise his motion.

        Nobody is rushing to defend or shield Fashola from accountability if he’s frittering away public funds to GE or any company involved in Nigeria’s woeful power sector. We don’t need Dino’s ignorant grandstanding to assess Fashola’s sad failure as Power Minister. He has become a pawn of the industry rather than an advocate of the Nigerian consumers and the public interest.
        So it will be no surprise if it turns out true that his solution to Nigeria’s power sector woes is largely shoveling public funds to make the operators, local and foreign, get rich while screwing the people who pay a premium for darkness in the name of privatizing the power sector.

        The whole country is one huge racket, no matter which party is in power (no pun intended).

      • Daniel

        Your response is really ridiculous . Do you work in GE or are you privy to the contracts . You are doing exactly the same thing dino did speculating and your is even worse because you are claiming to be a world renown expert on the subject matter.

        • Charlie

          I happen to have been a part owner of a small power plant in the USA. G.E. is not the only supplier of power turbines in the world. I don’t why people like you that I assume to be decent and honest people are allowing youselves to be decieved by crooked and incompetent politicians. In a country like Nigeria, every penny should be spent judiciously in order to move forward as a nation.

      • So oju abe niko

        Why are you using 2 handles? – You wrote as Ragner, and then come back to write as Charlie.
        ——————————————————
        I like it when I can debate someone who seems to have some real knowledge on the issue. I did a quick check (took me about 15 mins) to confirm that new 30 MW gas turbines has a list price between $15-30 million, depending on make and options. So the average price of $23.3 (1/8 of $186.6) is right within the range.

        You wrote, “The industry rule of thumb for a complete gas powered power plant ranges from $500k to $1.2m.” I would be charitable and assume that you meant to write, “… from $500 to $1.2m per KW”, otherwise your statement makes no sense. Assuming we take my interpretation, then your claim is that a brand new 240MW power plant should cost at most $288 mil (240MW * $1.2 million/KW). Coupled with your claim that the turbine is only a fifth of the investment, you expect 8 turbines (30MW each) to be no more than $57.6 M or $7.6 M per turbine. There is now where on this planet earth that you will get a brand new 30MW gas turbine of any make for $7.6M – you can get used-brand for $2M-$10M, depending on its make and functioning state. I have taken the trouble to break it down for you to show that your claim has no basis in reality

        Then you went on to contradict yourself by advocating that the new turbines which by your claim cost only 20% of the entire power plant should have been used to start a new power plant, while we continue to waste money to repair the current rundown turbines, which will continue to break down again and again. If the cost of turbines is only 1/5 of the full plant, then it is almost a disposable item that should be replaced every now and then, especially when it begins to run at less than 50% of its peak performance, instead of holding the rest of 80% investment to ransom.

        • Daniel

          Great response to the Charlie .
          It’s unfortunate that people comment on issues they know nothing about Instead of educate themselves properly.

        • Charlie

          I meant $500k to $1.2m per megawatt for a complete power plant. 1kw is your regular I better my neighbor generator, I don’t think that would $500k.
          Gas turbine power plant is the cheapest to build. Your figures are list prices and only suckers will pay those amounts for turbines only. Even going with your figures, how can that be 15% of the actual cost as claimed by Fashola?
          As for turbine being a disposable component, they are designed to last a long time , there are plants that are 50 years old and are still running. How do know how costly it is to maintain? If you don’t develop the capacity to maintain your plants you may as well be throwing away their major components every few years. They cannot afford to do that even in the rich countries of the world.

        • Charlie

          Look again, I am Charlie, that’s my real name I am not Ragner. Ragner only quoted what I wrote and posted for emphasis.

      • kinsly

        I will give you same answer too .Rebuild the turbine in Nigeria? Do you think a power turbine is a caterpillar or truck?

    • Olatoye Okunuga

      He has never gone on a fact finding mission, never done due deligence on any matter. I don’t think he knows how.

    • persona

      Dino has no capacity to distinguish anything…. a waka pass attendance is referred to a degree in LSE and Harvard.
      Asking him to verify anything is like asking Bobrisky to wear a reverend’s cloak.

      • Africa

        Lol..

  • Tunde

    Mr Dino and Senate President; we await your “feeble” response! When you and your cohorts don’t receive kick back like the previous administration you are therefore making spurious claims! We wait!

  • realist

    Melaye spoke without reference to any evidence, no facts no figure to substantiate his claims and his dunce Senate president did not equally ask for evidence, just jump the gun and concluded that Fasola should be summon. Truly their motive not likely to be sincere.

  • Olatoye Okunuga

    This is the result of his numerous masters degree he has acquired. Vabosity and eloquencity is never a virtue when it comes to common sense analysis. Dino is simply a circus, not fit to be in the halow chambers were serious issues as to the future of our great country.

  • Olatoye Okunuga

    Many Dinos’ if not in the majority occupy spaces in the senate. No wonder these low and debasing legislation we are entertained with.

  • persona

    And with Fashola’s explanation, an average person understands that GE doesn’t need NASS before they can invest.
    His claim from stolen in installment to pressure is indicative that he has no claims just that he planned to malign Fashola.
    The big questions is this: Should the allegation not be true, would Dine be suspended by the same senate that suspended another based on allegations from a newspaper?
    The NASS should know that of they don’t discipline Dino if wrong, no public official will then deserve a reprimand from them.

    • Chuma Anierobi

      The point is not being addressed. Due process.

    • wode

      “The big questions is this: Should the allegation not be true, would Dine be suspended by the same senate that suspended another based on allegations from a newspaper?”

      Pertinent question.

      Unfortunately, nothing happened to the ones he made in the past, Saraki is definitely not the one to suspend Dino. The Senate President always needs a body guard.

  • Timothy

    Because the heat of recall has died down and almost forgotten Dino has reappeared to make his usual rattling. Well for whatever reason his recall has been put down…we shall entertain his loud utterances for now….till he bites someone he shouldnt then the recall will be executed to the letter. I hear Bukola said the recall was dead on arrival, well it seems so.

  • Ragnar

    “Instead of castigating the senator (no matter how a lowlife he may be), perhaps we should ask Fashola how $27.9m is 15% of a 240mw turbine that will normally cost $50m at the most. The industry rule of thumb for a complete gas powered power plant ranges from $500k to $1.2m. A turbine is a key component of a plant but it cost is bit more than a fifth of the cost of the whole plant.
    Another question is why are you replacing turbines that can be rebuilt in a country with abundant cheap labor for a fraction of replacement when you have so much need for additional capacity? It Is just like replacing the engine of your car instead tuning It up.
    The power problem in Nigeria will persist as long as we have incompetent, corrupt and wasteful people controlling the power sector.
    By the way, G.E. is Nigeria to make money not for charity and they will take us to the cleaners If we allow them.”
    I don’t see why any Nigerian will defend these fools.

    The only sensible response so far in a post briming with paid ….Erats

    • So oju abe niko

      I like it when I can debate someone who seems to have some real knowledge on the issue. I did a quick check (took me about 15 mins) to confirm that new 30 MW gas turbines has a list price between $15-30 million, depending on make and options. So the average price of $23.3 (1/8 of $186.6) is right within the range.

      You wrote, “The industry rule of thumb for a complete gas powered power plant ranges from $500k to $1.2m.” I would be charitable and assume that you meant to write, “… from $500 to $1.2m per KW”, otherwise your statement makes no sense. Assuming we take my interpretation, then your claim is that a brand new 240MW power plant should cost at most $288 mil (240MW * $1.2 million/KW). Coupled with your claim that the turbine is only a fifth of the investment, you expect 8 turbines (30MW each) to be no more than $57.6 M or $7.6 M per turbine. There is now where on this planet earth that you will get a brand new 30MW gas turbine of any make for $7.6M – you can get used-brand for $2M-$10M, depending on its make and functioning state. I have taken the trouble to break it down for you to show that your claim has no basis in reality

      Then you went on to contradict yourself by advocating that the new turbines which by your claim cost only 20% of the entire power plant should have been used to start a new power plant, while we continue to waste money to repair the current rundown turbines, which will continue to break down again and again. If the cost of turbines is only 1/5 of the full plant, then it is almost a disposable item that should be replaced every now and then, especially when it begins to run at less than 50% of its peak performance, instead of holding the rest of 80% investment to ransom.

      • Sean

        Where Ateb the intellectuals like you have been hiding? Well done!! You deserve to be a Govt Spokesperson, I like your statistics and irrebutable assumptions, they’re super perfect! Well done Prof

        • Observer

          Kini eleyi n so?

      • Opekete

        Thank you for the cost analysis. If you want to mess up with any minister do not try it with Fasola. He is an analytic person and he always have his fact and figure right. Melaye is rabble rouser and I will advise him to concentrate his energy on the recall petition dangling around his corrupt neck.

        • Chuma Anierobi

          The question raised is not addressed. Due process.

          • Observer

            Due process rada rada wo ni yen? oga, Didn’t you read his defense as regards due process? … Oga read with understanding, or you employ a sound P. A

      • Tola

        Good when you have technically competent person deal with issues as you did. Many come to play politics but tend to wear the toga of expert to misinform. I just want Fashola to also address the issue of whether the $28m contribution was appropriated, although Dino is a rabble rouser.

      • wode

        You have simply so oju abe niko!

    • kinsly

      Rebuilt the turbine in Nigeria? Do you think a power turbine is a caterpillar or truck?

  • Kamoru

    Dino: Mr. President, I have found how we can make some $3m from FMoW,H&P
    Olu: Are you sure?
    Dino: Yes, they have been sharing $35m without appropriation on some “fictitious project” called Fast Power.
    Olu: Hmm. Bring it to the floor of the senate as a motion. We will get Fashola to do something for us.
    Dino: Presido! I trust you. I sure will! We need the money for 2019 campaigns, jare.

    • Chuma Anierobi

      Those of you who voted for thieves will always defend them.

  • Dan arewa

    This maleye man always in confused state, is marijuana legal in Kogi?

    • Chuma Anierobi

      Why do you insult him?

      • Observer

        Are you his E-rat P. A?

  • share Idea

    What I hate about this administration is covering up of obvious lies and corrupt acts without owing up when they are caught in the act.

    Fashola explanation that GE needed to build some turbines in the country and they found Afam as the only one that could be used is great lie from pit of hell.

    At what point did the ministry made Nigerians aware of all these decisions. Afam power station have been under constant refurbishment by previous administrations, how this administration would claim that the turbines were obsolete and decided to replacing them without bidding or advertisement. This same shenanigan was done by Amaechi when he claimed that GE have been awarded contract to handle our old gauge railway without letting the public know how there arrived GE being the preferred company to do that.

    Fashola explanation just collaborated Dino’s claim that he spent money without appropriation. Who authorized such spending and from where did he get the money, when such were never budgeted?

    VP claimed that this administration would be running Zero-based budgeting framework – which means that any expenditure must be budgeted and approved – is that the case under this circumstance.

    • Opekete

      May be you have to go and read the minister’s response once again. When did it become a law that foreign investment have to go through legislative process? If GE decided to invest money in power generation and all you need to do is provide a conducive location, does it make any sense to ask the senators in Abuja where such project should be located? If the minister have to go to the senate, then why do we need to appoint minsters? We don’t argue issues on the basis of sentiment but on the basis of facts and statistics.

      • Chuma Anierobi

        What are you really saying my countryman?

      • share Idea

        Please can you explain to us what you understand by the statement below from minister…

        ““The investment was contingent on paying $27,990,000 million which was 15% of 8 (eight) units of 30MW turbines each totalling 240MW valued at about $186,600,000:00.

        “This payment of $27.9m was made without breaching any law.” Are you suggesting that Fashola is now paying money given to him by GE or that GE decided to pay themselves through Fashola?

  • Chuma Anierobi

    Now we are knowing the real thieves.

  • Samuel Ekundayo Alao

    Ive never met this senator by the name of Dino Melaye, but I’m well familiar with the controversies around him in resent times. It is my humble opinion that Senator Melaye should be careful of making allegations public without proper investigation. We have high respect for the opinion of our Honorable gentlemen and women occupying the senatorial seats and will not like to see them rubbished. Enough of unverified allegations.

  • Max Iwunna

    Lol… The classic art of distraction and ‘form busy’ as recently revived by Donald Trump, that’s the strategy being copied here by Dino.
    He’s under fire from his constituency and using this spurious allegation to detract from his woes and try to ‘form busy’ for his constituency to reconsider his recall. Na wash.