A group, Alpha Justice & Advocacy has called for justice and fairness in the case of former Minister for Power and Steel, Dr. Olu Agunloye in the case of alleged fraud in the Mambilla Hydroelectric Power project prosecuting by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The group in a statement signed by its coordinator, Mr. Oluwafisan Bankale, Retired Diplomat, and made available to the Accurate News Nigeria said it feels compelled to add its voice to the matter due to what they described as an unfair stand of the antigraft agency on the case.
The statement reads “Still on the subject of Mambilla Power Project, our intervention this time is triggered by an EFCC leaflet circulating on social media declaring that Dr Agunloye is being “investigated for $6 billion fraud”.
“We are not sure whether his inclusion on that list with 14 others was deliberate or if it is an error of judgement. What we know and which is clear from the project concept and related documents is that any narrative suggesting malfeasance on his part is false.
“In office, as a true patriot and Honourable Minister of the Federal Republic, Dr. Agunloye awarded a *Build, Operate and Transfer, (BOT)* contract for the construction of the Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Power project, estimated at the cost of $6 billion, to Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited (Sunrise) at no cost to the Federal Government. This, in effect, meant that Sunrise will source and provide an estimated sum of $6 billion by himself to construct the dam, operate it for 35 years to recoup his investments and then hand the dam over to the Federal Government.
“Under this arrangement, the Government of Nigeria will not pay the Contractor a single kobo of Nigeria’s money towards the construction and operation of this hydroelectric dam. As a matter of fact, the Federal Government of Nigeria has not paid a single Naira to Sunrise up to this very hour.
“So, how did Dr. Agunloye become classified as being in a “$6 billion fraud” as the EFCC tried to portray to the public? It is baffling. It sounds like this is about giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it. We know, for a fact, that the Mambilla Power Project in question was awarded as a BOT, not as a procurement contract and not one kobo of Nigerian money was ever expended for the project under Dr. Agunloye’s watch as Minister of Power.
“While Nigerians await the trial under Hon. Justice Jude Onwuegbuzie to unfold, hopeful that the court would engage professionally, we would like to counsel the anti-graft Agency, EFCC to withdraw the libelous publication as it is a disservice to the cause of natural justice and disservice to this country.
“Well-meaning Nigerians and advocates of justice and fair play are keeping watch of events and shall, from time to time, intervene in the public space to ensure that Nigerians are well informed and we shall insist at all times that the trial runs on facts and not on media frenzy based on misrepresentation aimed at a public lynching.”