EFCC declares ex-minister, one other wanted over $6bn power project contract
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has declared a former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye and other, Tolulope Akinwale, wanted over alleged fraud.
The commission in its verified facebook page urged Nigerians who know the whereabout of Agunloye to report to the nearest police station or inform the commission.
The EFCC stated: “Dr. U Agunloye is wanted by the EFCC. You know his whereabout? Please don’t hesitate to inform the EFCC or the nearest Police Station.”
The EFCC had invited Agunloye for questioning over his role in the $6 billion Mambila hydropower contract.
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had accused Agunloye of mismanaging the power project during his tenure from 1999 to 2003 and failed to brief him on the state of the project.
In an interview, Obasanjo claimed that Agunloye fraudulently awarded the contract for the power project without the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Obasanjo challenged Agunloye to tell Nigerians where he derived the authority to award a $6 billion contract to Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd in respect of the project in 2003.
In his response, Agunloye said the nature of the initial contract for the Mambilla Power Project was awarded as a Build, Operate and Transfer contract in May 2003 under his watch.
He said the government was not obliged to pay a kobo to Sunrise under the build, operate and transfer (BOT) agreement as it was to be fully funded by the newly registered company, whose declared assets were worth less than $2,000 at the time.
Agunloye was, however, silent on where and how he got authorization to commit the government to a $6 billion project when, according to Obasanjo, ministers could not approve more than N25 million when he was president.
The EFCC quizzed the former minister over the controversy and a suspicious payment that was reportedly traced to his bank account.
The payment with the description “FRM LENO” was allegedly traced to his account after he committed the federal government to the disputed contract awarded to Sunrise Power Ltd, promoted by Leno Adesanya.
It was gathered that the EFCC discovered a number of transactions between Sunrise Power and government officials that it considers “inappropriate” and could have a material impact on the arbitration.
There was a transfer, according to reports that was allegedly made by a Sunrise Power official to Agunloye with the description “FRM LENO”, but Sunrise said it was a “cultural payment” to support the former minister’s medical expenses.
However, a further investigation by EFCC appeared to show that Agunloye spent the money on shopping and transportation around Orlando, Florida, in the United States, and not on medical expenses.
The discovery of the bank transfers was said to have triggered another investigation dating back to the 2000s.
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