The House of Representatives on Monday has said that there was no need to probe the $500m loan facility secured from China.
As a result, it stood by its decision to suspend activities of its standing and ad hoc committees, saying there was no hidden agenda.
It noted that the $500m loan facility secured from China had been approved by the National Assembly and captured in the 2020 Appropriation Act, adding that there was no need to investigate further.
Before activities of the committees were suspended on Thursday, the Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements had written the Ministry of Transportation, demanding documents containing loan agreements with China from 2000 to date.
Among the facilities the committee is probing is the $500m loan secured from China-EXIM Bank to finance railway projects under the Ministry of Transportation.
The committee’s Chairman, Nicholas Ossai, had last week accused the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, of failing to provide most of the documents requested from the ministry.
The ministry replied Ossai in a letter dated August 18, 2020 and titled, ‘Re: Request for the Federal Ministry of Transportation to transmit to the National Assembly all signed bilateral loan agreements, financial investment agreements and Other Contractual Documents between Nigeria and China Since 2000 to Date. ‘
The letter by the Director of Legal Services for the Ministry of Transportation, partly reads, “I am directed to refer to the proceedings at the public hearing of the committee held on Monday, August 17, 2020, and to your consequent directives to the Federal Ministry of Transportation to produce certain additional documents to assist the deliberations of the committee.
“Pursuant to the above, please find enclosed herein, the following documents for your consideration: 3 no Volumes of list of Nigerian employees engaged on the Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project (total 14,273).
“Expenses incurred on procuring major construction materials in the local market. Local procurement contracts (equipment and materials). Expenses incurred on purchasing vehicles and generators in the local market. Expenses on project insurance.,Works sub-contracted to local companies with list of the companies.
“Copy of Addendum No. 2 in respect of the Nigerian railway modernisation project dated 28th August 2012. Properly witnessed copy of Addendum No. 2C (extra works to Lagos-Ibadan segment) dated 23rd December, 2019.
“Copy of Circular No. SGF/OP/1/S.3/X/737 dated 11th August, 2014, from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, titled ‘Protection of the Federal Government and Its Corporation from Foreign Enforcement Proceedings Arising from Contract or Arbitration in Foreign Jurisdictions.’
“Schedule showing payments made thus far on the commercial agreements being implemented by the FMOT; a soft copy (flash drive) of China-linked project agreements being handled by the FMOT.”
In a letter Punch says it sighted, the ministry wrote back to the ministry to demand more documents, which were expected to have been submitted on Friday last week.
The letter partly read, “Specific documents request from Federal Ministry of Transportation:
“Official documents of the power of attorney for the appointment of the borrower’s process agent on all loan agreements as prescribed in Appendix 7.
“Official confirmation letter by the appointed borrower’s process agents as prescribed in Appendix 8 of the loan agreements.
“Official copies of Attorney General of the Federation(’s) authorisation of the loan agreements. Copies of certificate of completion for completed projects.
“A copy of Federal Government circular with Reference Number SGF /OP/1/S.3/X/1737 dated 11th August, 2018, as sited in your contractual document of Addendum 3.1, Page 16, under the waiver of sovereign immunity clause and Addendum 3.2, Article 23, Page 16, etc.
“Copies of the bill of quantity of the commercial contracts. A list details of Nigerian employees engaged in other rail projects of the ministry. List details of Nigerian sub-contractors engaged in new rail projects of the ministry. Any other documents that may assist in the committee’s work.
“Please note that you are requested to submit 30 copies of each of these documents on each of the loan agreements to the secretariat of the committee by Friday the 21st day of August, 2020.”