Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola has denied the reports that the Mambilla power project has been stalled due to an attempt to divert funds.
The $5.8 billion project, a 3,050-megawatt hydropower facility, was conceived in 1982.
In a statement, the minister’s spokesperson, Hakeem Bello, said the Federal Government never awarded a contract for the Mambilla power project to Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited (SPTCL).
He described the claims made by Chief Executive Officer of SPTCL Leno Adesanya as fictional.
In a series of petition to Fashola, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari, Adesanya had claimed that the company was sidelined in the project by the ministry after it was awarded the contract in 2003.
Adesanya had taken the Federal Government and its Chinese partners before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris, France over an alleged breach of contract for the project located in Taraba State.
However, Bello said available evidence does not support Adesanya’s claims, adding that he was making a desperate attempt to destabilise the project from coming to fruition.
“The attention of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing has been drawn to the spurious and unfounded allegations of Leno Adesanya with regards to the ongoing Mambilla Power Project,” the statement read.
“Nothing is more further away from the truth than the claim that the loan negotiations have stalled since 2017 because of an attempt to utilise $600 Million (equivalent of N219 billion) from the 3,050MW hydropower project for a “pet project” not hitherto considered by the Federal Executive Council.
“There is currently no budgetary provision or cash provision of $600 million or the N219 billion in any budget of the Federal Government for the Mambila Project. Therefore, you cannot attempt to divert what does not exist.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the China Exim Bank disburse money to specific projects and on conclusion of negotiations, the loan will be devoted to the construction of the Mambila Power Project, which has been on the drawing board for close to 40 years before the advent of the Buhari administration, which is now working assiduously to get the project off the ground.”
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