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Fashola names alleged corrupt contractors

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The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN has forwarded to Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) documents from some of the Ministry’s agencies providing some level of details regarding the names of contractors that allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any projects, and inviting SERAP to “inspect a compendium of verified and paid/outstanding liabilities of contractors, kept at the offices of the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Limited/GTE.”

This development was disclosed today in a statement by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare. The Ministry’s letter with reference number FMP/LU/R2K/2016/T/40 and signed on Mr Fashola’s behalf by the Permanent Secretary (Power) Louis O.N. Edozien, was sent to SERAP last week. The letter reveals that: “Pow Technologies Limited, an Abuja based company, was in 2014 awarded a contract for the supply and installation of test and maintenance equipment relays, etc to various NAPTIN regional training centers (RTCs)
(LOT15), with the total contract sum of N87,763,302.40, out of which N79,404,892.66 was paid to Pow Technologies Limited.”

According to the Ministry’s letter, although the contract was awarded in 2014, only 13 of the 19 items have so far been supplied, with 6 items
outstanding. The details of the 6 items that Pow Technologies Limited has allegedly failed to supply are not provided by the Ministry but the
letter indicates some of the action the Ministry said it has taken to ensure: “completion of the project, address criminal breach of contract
and take remedial action.”

The Ministry said that while the contractors undertook to take remedial action, they have failed to complete the project for which funds have
been released. The Ministry pointed out that it submitted a petition to the Commissioner of Police, Abuja on 13th January 2016, and that the
police instituted a case for the prosecution of Messrs Pow at the Upper Area Court.

The Ministry also said it has sought and received legal advice to pursue a civil action at the FCT High Court while a report of criminal breach
of contract has been made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

SERAP said: “We welcome Mr Fashola’s latest response and the information regarding Pow Technologies Limited. But we need details of names of other contractors that have collected public funds yet failed to execute power projects. We will continue to push the Ministry and its agencies to reveal more details of alleged corrupt contractors and companies, as contained in our FOI request. We will continue to pursue our FOI suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos, before Justice Chuka Austine Obiozor, a Professor of Law, who has granted an order for leave in the case.”

Mr Fashola’s latest letter to SERAP reads in part: “I write with respect to the Ministry’s letter regarding details of alleged corrupt
contractors and to forward the attached responses from some of the Ministry’s Agencies namely: National Bulk Electricity Trading Plc;
National Power Training Institute of Nigeria and Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Limited/GTE for your information.”

It would be recalled that Mr Fashola had earlier said in response to SERAP’s FOI request that: “the Ministry has searched for the requested
information on details of alleged contractors and companies that collected money for electricity projects and failed to executive any
projects, but we could not find it from our records.”

However, SERAP disagreed with the response, saying: “The public expectation is that government information, when in the hands of any
public institutions and agencies, should be available to the public, as prescribed by the FOI Act. The FOI Act should always be used as an
authority for disclosing information rather than withholding it.”

Mr Fashola in a follow-up letter dated 4th March, 2019, to SERAP’s reaction promised to: “refer the request for details of alleged
contractors and companies that collected money for electricity projects and failed to executive any projects to the Ministry’s agencies for
necessary action and appropriate response. There may be instances of part-payment against certification of commensurate value for materials and services in achieved contract milestone even though the entire contract is not 100% performed.”

Mr Fashola’s initial response followed SERAP’s FOI request and suit number FHC/L/CS/105/19 filed in February at the Federal High Court,
Lagos. The suit is seeking “an order of mandamus directing and/or compelling Mr Fashola to provide specific details on the names and
whereabouts of the contractors who collected public funds meant for electricity projects but disappeared with the money without executing
any projects.”

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OONI LAUDS AREGBESOLA @ 63, CALLS HIM AN EPITOME OF LOYALTY

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Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II has described the Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as a great icon of public service and epitome of loyalty that must always found worthy of celebrations.

Ooni Ogunwusi who doubles as the permanent chairman of Osun state council of Obas and Co-chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria(NCTRN) spoke in a press statement released by his Director of Media & Public Affairs, Comrade Moses Olafare congratulating Ogbeni Aregbesola on his 63rd birthday.

“Congratulations from The Arole Oodua Olofin Adimula, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi to the Minister of Interior, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Ogbeni Adesoji Rauf Aregbesola on his 63rd Birthday Anniversary.

The statement reads; “Ogbeni Aregbesola as a comrade, you started with student’s right activism over four decades ago. As a proponent of democratic rule, you in the 90s participated in the several pro-June 12 struggles which led to the enthronement of civil rule in 1999.

“You have since 1999 lived for the people through your sterling public service performances, first as Commissioner For Works and Infrastructure in Lagos state from 1999 to 2006, followed by your emergence as Governor of the state Osun from 2010 to 2018 and your current position as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in charge of Interior through which you oversee very sensitive sections of Nigeria’s internal security like Immigration, Civil Defense, Fire service, Correctional service among other responsibilities.

“RAUF, you are indeed a great descendant of Oduduwa and a Nigerian patriot with incorruptible Pan Africanism for which you are always worthy to be celebrated. You are an Omoluwabi per excellence, a down-to-earth grassroot politician with incredibly huge followership, a great promoter of our cultural values and heritage, an icon of people oriented public service and an epitome of loyalty.”

Ooni, the foremost African monarch and Yoruba’s Natural leader prayed for good heath and longevity for Aregbesola who is the immediate past of the state of Osun.

“My dear Ogbeni, may the Almighty Olodumare keep upholding your entire household as you gloriously clock 63 today.

“We also pray the rest of your journey on this earth shall be characterized by sound health, meaningful long life and immeasurable prosperity.

Igba odun odun kan

Afon a gbo ko to wo

Happy 63rd Birthday!!!” Ooni prayed.

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EID-EL FITRI: OONI CONGRATULATES MUSLIMS, SAYS THERE IS ALWAYS A REASON TO CELEBRATE

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The Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II has congratulated Muslims in Nigeria and across the world especially those of Yoruba origin as the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end with the annual Eid-el Fitri celebration.

In a statement by his Director of Media and Public Affairs, Comrade Moses Olafare, the Ooni who is the Co-Chairman, National Council of Traditional Rulers explained that there are reasons to celebrate and thank the Almighty Allah for His goodness and mercies in every situations.

“Celebration here is not the conventional merriment of social gathering as we all know that there is an order against that especially in this situation we are all face with globally. The Ooni says we should celebrate in our various homes with our families by remembering Allah and why we should not give up in our hope of a better tomorrow.

“God in His infinite mercy shall accept our fasting and prayers including those we said against the rampaging coronavirus and other enemies of humanity. We’ve been through a lot together and we can’t but be grateful to God for keeping us.

“Although it is regrettable to realize that we cannot gather like before especially for the annual congregational prayers but we must make the best out of what we have while we hope and pray to be part of the brighter future.” The Ooni said.

In the same vein, the Natural leader of the Oduduwa race worldwide urged Nigerians to keep supporting the government in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic by observing the laid down precautionary measures including maintenance of social distancing, personal hygiene, regular hand washing and others.

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African Guarantee Fund Announces Response to Economic Impact of COVID-19

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African Guarantee Fund  for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (AGF), has today announced its COVID-19 response aimed at reducing the uncertainties facing financial institutions in Africa as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. AGF’s COVID-19 response is built on the imperative need for commercial solutions over and above the regulatory efforts already provided by the various central banks and governments in the continent.

African Guarantee Fund’s response sets the platform for economic stabilization, followed by an economic revival through AGF’s newly developed COVID-19 Guarantee Facility that will, firstly, provide more comfort to financial institutions to restructure facilities that become non-performing because of COVID-19 and, secondly, provide commercial stimulus to the financial sector with the aim of mitigating the deterioration of SMEs’ perceived risk.

Commenting on the announcement, AGF CEO, Mr. Felix Bikpo said, “The consequences of COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have escalating negative effects on SMEs in Africa both on the supply and demand sides. Consequently, we must assume that there follows a deterioration of these SMEs’ creditworthiness. This is likely to increase the cost of credit for the financial sector which will surely increase their reluctance to finance the SME sector if there is no external stimulus. It is because of this that we must develop a commercial response in addition to the regulatory responses given by the different central banks and governments in the continent. Therefore, in line with our mandate we have launched the COVID-19 Guarantee Facility.”

AGF will also continue to use its technical assistance support to increase the capacity of financial institutions in their risk assessment of SMEs during the crisis period. This will allow analyzing the impact of the pandemic on the financial institutions, so as to forge the best possible responses to adapt effectively.

The African Guarantee Fund recently received a third time AA- Rating by Fitch, which was first assigned in November 2017, a first for a guarantee fund in Africa.

“This exceptional rating is a sign of confidence and trust in AGF’s operational excellence, particularly now that financial institutions are in need of cushioning to continue lending to SMEs, who hold the key to the economic recovery of their respective countries,” concluded AGF CEO, Mr. Felix Bikpo.

Since inception, AGF has boosted SME lending in Africa by issuing guarantees to financial institutions thereby unlocking loans worth USD 2.5 Billion.

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