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The Senate, has on Tuesday, November 8, begun the probe of the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, over his alleged involvement in a shady contract deal worth $2 billion.
The contract was for the concession of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, and Lagos-Kano rail lines.
This is coming, a few weeks ahead of the Rivers State Senatorial rerun polls, of which Amaechi has vested interest.
Some political pundits are of the view that the issue of the concession was raised now to distract Amaechi, over the forthcoming December 10 rerun elections.
Meanwhile, the Senate mandated its Committees on Privatization, Finance, Land Transport, Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Trade and Investment, to thoroughly investigate the Minister, for allegedly not following due process.
The resolution on Tuesday, was as a result of a motion by Senator Akpan Bassey (PDP-Akwa Ibom), which he entitled, “urgent need to investigate the granting of concession of Western (Lagos-Kano), and Eastern (Port Harcourt- Maiduguri) rail lines, to General Electric Bassey.
Senator Bassey, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, said that upon approval of the project by the National Privatization Council, in April 2015, in the last days of former President, Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure, the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, and the Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility, had developed a road map for the concessioning of these rail lines.

He said the BPE, had engaged the Global Infrastructure Facility, and the World Bank in discussions on how to access funds to manage the project before Amaechi came in, and allegedly unilaterally carried out the concession with General Electric, GE.
The Lawmaker, noted that the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act, did not envisage a concessioning of the corporation, until recently amended.
Bassey, further accused Amaechi of violating the Public Enterprises (Privatization and Commercialization) Act 1999, by this singular action.
He told the Chamber that Amaechi had in an interview with CNBC, in June, announced Nigeria’s engagement with GE regarding the concession of Western and Eastern rail lines – Lagos to Kano, and Port Harcourt to Maiduguri respectively, worth around $2 billion.
Amaechi, had said in the interview: “GE is already in; we are trying to get the government agencies to allow us negotiate with GE.
“The company is going to bring in over $2 billion, in the Nigerian railway sector, in which they are going to revive the Lagos – Kano narrow gauge, and revive the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri narrow gauge, by private investment.”
Senator Bassey, also expressed concern that it was the responsibility of the Steering Committee and Technical Committees of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, inaugurated by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, in August this year, to negotiate with potential bidders for the concessioning, querying, why the Ministry of Transport, should engage GE Company, in June this year.

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