‘Baseless and false’ — Agunloye refutes Obasanjo’s allegations on Mambilla power project


Olu Agunloye, former minister of power and steel, has denied
the recent allegations against him about the Mambilla power project.


In a recent interview with TheCable, former President
Olusegun Obasanjo challenged Agunloye to tell Nigerians where he derived the
authority to award a $6 billion contract to Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd
in respect of the Mambilla hydropower project in 2003.


Sunrise Power is currently in arbitration with Nigeria at
the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Paris, France, over an alleged
breach of contract by the federal government.


Sunrise is asking for a compensation of $2.3 billion,
claiming it had spent millions of dollars on financial and legal consultants
before the contract was jettisoned.


The company is also asking for a $400 million settlement
being the terms of the agreement it entered with the federal government in 2020
to end the arbitration.


Nigeria is fighting the claims on the grounds that Agunloye,
who “suspiciously” awarded the contract one week to the end of his tenure as
power minister in 2003, acted “illegally”.


In a statement issued on Sunday, the former minister refuted
the claims as baseless, false, and malicious.


According to Agunloye, the nature of the initial contract
for the Mambilla power project, was awarded as a “build, operate and transfer
(BOT) contract in May 2003 under my watch”.


“Under this model, the contractor, Messrs Sunrise Power and
Transmission Company Limited (Sunrise), was responsible for sourcing funds and
executing the project with its own funds,” the statement reads.


“The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) was not obliged to
pay any amount to Sunrise.”


Agunloye also explained that the investment required for
Sunrise to construct the hydroelectric project up to completion was estimated
at a maximum of $6 billion by four ministers of power and former President
Obasanjo before his own tenure.


He stated that the allegation by the former president that
he awarded a $6 billion contract (N800 billion in 2003) to Sunrise was
inaccurate and misleading.


The former minister added that for 20 years, he was never questioned
or interrogated about awarding any unauthorised Mambilla contract by any
Nigerian president, including Obasanjo.


He also raised concerns about the change of contract model
for the Mambilla power project after his tenure, noting that Obasanjo split it
into smaller components.


“On the 28th of May 2007, a day before handing over power to
President Umaru Yar’Adua, President Obasanjo changed the terms of the Mambilla
project from Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT), which would not have required
any investment from the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) to a fully funded
FGN EPC contract,” he said.


Agunloye and some officials of the ministry of justice have
been quizzed over the Sunrise affair and may soon be charged in court.


Related posts

Start Chat
Chat With DJ Gambit
How Can I help You?
%d bloggers like this: