By ‘Dotun Akintomide
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to probe previous administrations of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan over the several power projects that remain undelivered till date despite allocating billions of dollar for such projects.
The call by SERAP to prosecute the two leaders, follows Buhari’s disclosure on Tuesday when he mulled the possibility of probing Obasanjo over the failed $16 billion power project.
“We welcome the focus by Buhari on the massive allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the power sector, SERAP’s Executive Director, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, said on Wednesday in a statement.
SERAP urged Buhari to “urgently refer the allegations of mismanagement of $16 billion power projects between 1999 and 2007 to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for further investigation.
“If there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence, for anyone suspected to be involved to face prosecution.”
Mumuni requested Buhari not to limit the EFCC and ICPC to allegations of the $16 billion power project funds but also the N11 trillion earmarked for provision of electricity in prior administrations.
SERAP said: “Refer to the EFCC and ICPC not just allegations regarding the $16 billion power projects but also the alleged squandering of over N11 trillion.’’
“The over N11 trillion was meant to provide regular electricity supply covering the governments of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
We welcome the focus by Buhari on the massive allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the power sector.
“We urge him to expand his searchlight beyond the Obasanjo government by ensuring accountability and full recovery of the over N11 trillion squandered by the three administrations.
“It is only by pursuing all the allegations and taking the evidence before the court that the truth will be revealed and justice best served.
“This is the only way to conclusively address the systemic corruption in the power sector and an entrenched culture of impunity of perpetrators.
“Addressing impunity in the power sector should be total, this would help improve the integrity of government and public confidence and trust in their government.
“It would also serve as a vehicle to further the public’s perception of fairness and thoroughness, and to avert any appearance of political considerations in the whole exercise.”
SERAP stated in the statement that the financial loss to corruption in the power sector from the year 1999 to date exceeded N11trillion.
“Not only in the spending of not just the $16 billion but also the over N11 trillion spent by three governments on electricity supply.
“The total estimated financial loss to Nigeria from corruption in the electricity sector starting from the return to democracy in 1999 to date is over Eleven Trillion Naira (N11 Trillion Naira).
“This represents public funds, private equity and social investment (or divestments) in the power sector. .
“It is estimated that may reach over Twenty Trillion Naira (N20 Trillion Naira) in the next decade.
Buhari had on May 22 accused Obasanjo of spending $16 billion on power projects during his tenure as the President without corresponding power supply to Nigerians.
Responding, Obasanjo said he was already cleared of any wrongdoing concerning the power sector by the National Assembly.
Ex-President Obasanjo referred President Buhari to his autobiography, My Watch, which he said reproduced various reports on the matter.