The House of Representatives committee on treaties, agreements and loans investigating loans obtained by the federal government from China for railway projects in the country has suspended sitting for a week, even as the Lawmakers alleged that the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi lied on oath while presenting his submission before Committee.
Chairman of the committee, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) who announced thisTuesday said they needed time to study the documenta submitted by various MDAs.
In his remarks before adjoining, Ossai said “Yesterday, we requested a lot to come before us. The honourable minister of police affairs submitted his yesterday. And those documents got to me this morning and also got to my colleagues this morning.
“The honourable minister of FCT,you submitted this morning.. It got to us this morning. Also, other agencies that are here.
“Honourable colleagues, you are aware that I am the chairman of this committee and I will not ambush my colleagues in terms of when documents are submitted to them, because we we need to digest most of these documents clause by clause.
“Also, there is an important office in this country which is part and parcel of the negotiating team; that is the ministry of justice. Ministry of justice have been reached. They need to be part and parcel of this because of the revelation that are coming out now on most of these clauses and these articles we have seen embedded in the documents.
“We also need the minisrty of Justice to be able to interface with them. More importantly, we also need the minister of finance, who is supposed to be here. Who signed most of these agreements with other countries. We also need the the DG of DMO is supposed to be here.
“We cannot interrogate other agencies without these bodies been around. And coupled with the fact that these documents just arrived.
“So we are seeking the indulgence of my committee members to be able to look at this issues and probably adjourn for one week to enable us digest this matter, look at this matter and invite the honourable ministers that are here and those of them that are not here, so that we can be able to conclude this matter as soon as possible and make recommendations to National Assembly.
“We want to make a far reaching recommendations because it is very very key in Nigeria going forward. We must be able to make sure that the generation that are unborn and the generation that are young, we must bequeath a Nigeria that is strong, a Nigeria that economically is very strong and sound. That is the essence why we are representing Nigeria.
“So, my honourable colleagues, I think we should adjourn this house for one week, but I need a formal motion on it”
But a member of the panel told reporters in confidence that it may call for the prosecution of the minister of transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi for allegedly lying on oath.
Amaechi is however expected next Tuesday to defend himself before the committee against the allegations.
According to the member, while the minister told the committee on Monday that 20,000 Nigerians were employed in the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, only 14, 273 have actually been engaged in the document he submitted to the committee.
He said the committee discovered from the documents submitted by the ministry of transportation that only 14,273 Nigerian have been engaged for the project.
He said contrary to the ministers submission, there are 596 chinese personnel occupying over 40 percent of positions such as ivl engineers, senior technical officers and technicians.
The committee also accused the minister of failing to submit some of the documents demanded from him. The documents include: copy of addendum no.2 in respect of the Nigerian Railway modernization project dated 28th August, 2012.
Also missing from the list of documents expected from the minister is the “schedule showing payments made thus far on the commercial agreements being implemented by the federwl ministry of transportation and soft copy if China-linked project agreements being handled by the ministry as well as certificate of interim claim from the contractors.
The House of Representatives committee on treaties, agreements and protocols investigating $500bn loans obtained by the federal government from China for railway projects has adjourned proceedings for one week.
The lawmaker also said the suspension of the investigation was occasioned by attempts by some interested stakeholders to influence and dictate the process and outcome of the exercise.
He revealed that the chairman has been under intense pressure from different angles to “apply brakes on the investigation”
The lawmaker, however declined to name those mounting pressure on the committee.
He said, “Although, the chairman has given you reasons why we had to adjourned for one week before continuing with the investigation, but the fact of the matter is that he is under intense pressure by some interested parties to either end this probe on apply some brakes.
“So many people are not comfortable with the revelations coming out of the investigation. And I can assure you there are more damaging discoveries, which this committee has made from the memoranda submitted by the MDAs.
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