Drama As Reps And Amaechi Disagree Over Alleged $33 Billion Contract Probe

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There was a mild drama yesterday as the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi vehemently disagreed with the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Loans, Treaties and Protocols, Mr. Ossai Nicholas Ossai, on the award of contracts for the construction of railways to the tune of $33 billion.

The issue, which sparked up a heated argument, forced the committee to suspend probing for about 30 minutes after Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila waded in to restore orderliness.

Mr. Nicholas Ossai, at the start of the hearing, expressed displeasure with the Ministry of Transport for allegedly obtaining over $33 billion loan from China for the construction of rail project without any clear cut financing arrangements.

The lawmaker, claimed that most of the commercial contracts agreements lacked local content clauses.

He also said it was unfortunate that the deals were sealed by non-designated and unauthorised officials.

Ossai’s claim was displeasing to Amaechi’s ear and He insisted that there was no shred of truth in the allegation that his ministry obtained $33 billion for the construction of railway projects.

The minister, who had a heated exchange of words with Ossai, disclosed that his ministry had so far obtained $1.6 billion loan for the construction of the Lagos -Ibadan railway project.

Amaechi also faulted the notion held in certain quarters that the local content laws were breached by his ministry.

He warned that the activities of the lawmakers would hinder the acquisition of the loans to finance the South South rail projects, insisting that the only loan secured by the present government was the $I.6 billion for Lagos -Ibadan rail.

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