The House of Representatives said on Sunday that it had invited the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Seyi Sjuwade, over the ongoing investigation into the contracts for the rehabilitation and modernisation of the country’s rail lines between 2010 and 2014.
An ad hoc committee of the House chaired by a member from Edo State, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, is conducting the investigation.
Agbonayinma, who confirmed the invitation of the officials in Abuja, also disclosed that a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Mohammed Bello-Haliru, and a former Minister of Transport, Mr. Idris Umar, had been invited to speak on their role in the execution of the contracts.
The Federal Government reportedly spent over N1tn on the railway contracts with the additional funding from the now-rested Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme during the period under review.
However, the House had observed that the execution of the rail projects was not commensurate with the “huge public funds expended by the NRC.”
Amaechi, Sjuwade, Bello-Haliru and Umar are expected to appear before the ad hoc committee at the National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday (tomorrow).
Amaechi only became the Minister of Transport last year, but Agbonayinma said the former Rivers State governor was in a position to give the latest update on the contracts, being the one in charge of the transport ministry.
He explained, “The Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, was also invited to tell us all he knows, though he just assumed office, but you know that government is a continuum.”
Agbonayinma claimed that the aim of the investigation was not a witch-hunt, but to ensure that money approved for a public project was properly spent and officials held accountable for failures.
“This 8th House is 100 per cent in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s crusade against any form of corruption.
“We are not on a witch-hunt but anyone found wanting in the course of this investigative hearing will be adequately exposed, although as you are aware, not until it is proven by a competent court that such persons are guilty you cannot say they are guilty,” he added.