Memoranda from various stakeholders have started pouring in before the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee set up to investigate contract awards for the Rehabilitation of railway tracks and the procurement of coaches and locomotives between 2010-2014.
According to a source, many good spirited members of the public have submitted detailed memoranda on how a few government functionaries literally stole several billions of naira under the guise of rehabilitating the nation’s railway network.
Sources said that a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), a former Minister of Transport and two former National Chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who held very key positions on the Board of the NRC were said to have been fingered as having taken decisions that were not in public interest in the rehabilitation project. The source, however, did not disclose the names of the former government officials involved for security reasons.
It was learnt that while it would be difficult for top management of the corporation and the Federal Ministry of Transport to claim ignorance in what went wrong, some of them who were not involved have come forward to volunteer information on how much of the infractions were carried out.
It was learnt that there were cases were coaches and locomotives procured were way far from specifications for which public funds were paid and that in some cases, payments which had already been made through the regular budgetary provisions were repeated through the SURE-P window.
Consequently, out of a total contract sum of N79.337 billion for various segments of the rehabilitation, N42. 086 billion had allegedly been paid to the contractors but with very little work done.
The $841 million Abuja-Kaduna rail line being funded partly through a $500 million loan from the China Exim Bank has also suffered several completion date setbacks.
It was alleged that of the total contract sum of N19.96 billion for the 463 km Port Harcourt to Makurdi rail track rehabilitation, N9.61 billion had been paid, with no appreciable work done.
The Lagos to Jebba track rehabilitation project was awarded at a total contract sum of N12.29 billion out of which N11.69 billion has been allegedly been paid.
Jebba to Kano track rehabilitation project had a total contract sum of N12.16 billion with payments so far made put at N 10.33 billion without any appreciable work done.
Zaria to Kaura track rehabilitation project has a total contract sum of N3.21 billion and payment ofN1.14 billion paid.
Procurement and rehabilitation of wagons, coaches and locomotives (narrow gauge) were projected at a total sum of N6.5 billion with N4.07 billion so far paid with little to show for it.
The track rehabilitation consultancy fee was N1.48 with payment made so far put at N718.2 million
Kuru to Maiduguri track rehabilitation project was awarded at N23.7 with N6.499 million payment made so far.
The legislators are concerned that there is too little to show for the billions of naira sunk into the upgrade of the country’s railway transportation system.
By Pita Ochai