$16 BILLION EGINA PROBE: “DON’T SHORTCHANGED NIGERIAN ON FOREIGN INVESTMENT” SEN. ADEOLA
The Chairman of Senate Committee on Local Content, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West) has called on foreign investors investing in the attractive Nigerian economy to desist from any activities that will shortchange Nigeria and Nigerians in their investment drive in the Nigeria.
Making the call over the weekend when the Managing Director of SAIPEM Contracting Nigeria Limited, Mr. Guido D’ Aloisio appeared with the company’s legal counsel, Chief Henry Ajumogobia SAN, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources in the ongoing Senate investigation into the Cost Variations and Local Content Elements of the $16 Billion Egina Deep-sea Oil production, Senator Adeola said “no individual or corporate body should stampede us as a country to do what is not obtainable in their country or in accordance to international best practices” adding that it is because investment in Nigeria is profitable that foreign investor make huge investment as in the case of Egina Project.
SAIPEM Contracting Nigeria Limited MD has appeared before the committee accompanied by the legal counsel to explained that he is in the best position with the” Power of Attorney” to provide answers to the Senate Committee on behalf of the managing directors of three foreign companies, SAIPEM SA, SAIPEM Portugal and SAIPEM BV, all part of a Consortium that got $2.9 billion-varied to $3.2 billion- contract of the Egina $16 billion project. The Senate had earlier given an ultimatum for the managing directors to appear before the Senate Investigative Committee in person.
Ruling on the issue after interventions by Senator David Umaru,(APC, Niger East )the Senate Chairman on Judiciary and the explanation of Mr. D’Aloisio that he is in the best position to provide all evidences requested by the Committee as the contract was signed by proxy and the foreign MDs may not know some details, Senator Adeola ruled that the “Power of Attorney” document be submitted adding that “ all documents relating to the foreign firms aspects of the contract including scope of work, approved variations, dollar-naira differentials in contracts as well as the shares of each of the companies in the consortium should submitted to the Committee.
“While we are not accusing anyone of shady deals and nobody is on trial, we insist that all relevant documents be made available to the Committee so that we can present a fair and comprehensive report to the Senate for it to take decision to protect Nigeria interest and Nigerians. As it is we have uncovered huge variations running up to a billion dollars as well as serial contraventions of the Nigeria Local Content Law 2010” Senator Adeola stated.
While calling on the Press not to draw any conclusion of wrongdoings in their coverage of the Committee’s proceedings as complained by the legal counsel of SAPIEM, Mr. Ajumogobia SAN, Senator Adeola said reportage by the Press must have been done in line of their duty to protect the interest of Nigeria adding that an interim report of the findings of the Committee so far will be submitted in about two week’s time.
The Chairman of the Committee also directed the managing director of Samsung Heavy Industry, SHI, Mr. EJ Shin to provide evidence to justify his claims of taking away Nigeria jobs abroad from a Nigerian company, EWT Nigeria Limited on the basis of late delivery and quality, a claim denied by the Nigerian firm present at the hearing.