Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Senate probe begins over power funds mismanagement

Senate begins probe of Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, others over power funds mismanagement

ABUJA—THE  Senate will today  begin an inquest into alleged mismanagement of funds appropriated to the power sector from the Olusegun Obasanjo civilian administration to date.


In a statement, yesterday, by the Clerk of Senate ad hoc Committee on Power, Cletus Ojabo, the power sector probe will be in the form of investigative hearing/interactive session, just as there was an indication that former ministers of power will also be in attendance.

According to Ojabo,  the investigation would centre on funds appropriated for the power sector since 1999 and the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, adding: “ It is expected that all those who played key roles in the power sector since 1999, including ministers and heads of government departments and parastatals, will appear before the panel.”

It will be recalled that Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had last month announced a  13-man ad hoc committee to carry out a holistic investigation into the management of funds appropriated to the power sector from the Olusegun Obasanjo civilian administration to date.

Senator  Saraki had urged members of the committee to consider their reputation and integrity and come up with a report that would be acceptable to Nigerians. He lamented that a lot of money had been spent on the sector with no results, while Nigeria is still faced with the challenge of power supply.
The committee, which has Senator Abubakar Kyari, (APC Borno North) as chairman, was also saddled with the responsibility of looking into irregularities in the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN and to  also probe how the Obasanjo, Umaru Yar‘Adua and Jonathan administrations managed funds allocated to the sector.

The committee was charged with the task of looking into the entire power value chain including generation, transmission and distribution with a view to identifying what the problems in the sector are.
Saraki, who noted at the inauguration of the committee three weeks ago, that the task before the panel is huge, had however, frowned  at the continued absence of regular supply of electricity despite the country’s huge investments in the sector.
Kyari, in his remarks during the inauguration,  detailed the nature of the investigation his committee is saddled with,saying, “ To have a close look at the entire power value chain (generation, transmission and distribution) calls for a review of our policies in order to obtain optimum performances across the board.
According to him, “the abysmal performance of the generation segment is no longer news in view of the current deteriorating power supply which hovers around 4,600MW for a population of over 170 million people, despite the huge resources committed into it.”