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Reps probe NIMASA, transport ministry over alleged N71bn scam

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The House of Representatives on Thursday mandated its relevant committees to probe the $195.5 million (about N 71 billion) contract allegedly awarded by the Ministry of Transportation to an Israeli security outfit to man Nigeria’s waterways.

Public Procurement and Marine committees are expected to submit their report within the next three weeks after investigations.

This resolution was based on a petition brought to the floor of the house under matters of public importance tagged ‘Urgent Need to Probe $195m Security contract awarded by the Ministry of Transportation’ promoted by All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker from Abia State, Benjamin Kalu.

House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions had carried out a similar investigative hearing on the same matter in 2018 based on a petition by a non-governmental organisation.

Kalu had averred that “there is urgent need to investigate the matter because the money used in paying the Israeli security company was borrowed and will be due for repayment by June 2020.”

Out of the $195 million, NIMASA sourced $30.4 million without consulting the National Assembly, he added.

Citing various sections of the constitution about powers of the National Assembly, Kalu declared that due process was not followed, hence the need to probe the matter further.

He recalled that the eighth Assembly had carried out a similar probe on the alleged contract scam in 2018.

While rounding off his debate, Kalu noted that “what is meant for Nigerians should be spent for Nigerians because the security of the Nigerian waterways can’t be placed in the hands of foreigners.”

Contributing, Obinna Chidoka moved that an amendment should be made to reflect that Public Procurement and Marine committees should handle the matter.

The presiding officer, Idris Wase, moved for its adoption and it was adopted by the house.

Wase had said that the motion needed no debate, which the house concurred with.

(The Guardian) 

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