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Rail contracts: Contractors to Refund N2.5b

The Hon. Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma-headed House of Representatives adhoc committee investigating the award and execution of rail contracts was yesterday told that six contractors involved in the over N1 trillion Rail Contracts are to refund N2.5 billion to the coffers of the Federal Government.

The contractors who participated in the railway construction and rehabilitation contracts are to make the refunds for excess payments made to the contractors by the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC).

Officials from the Office of the Auditor- General of the Federation who were at the continued hearing of the panel investigating the rail contracts awards at the National Assembly said Audit Queries on the contracts were unanswered.

Since the beginning of the investigations in October last year, the panel met with former Chairmen of the Board of the NRC and other stakeholders in the course of the investigative hearing.

According to the OAGF official, CCECC, handling Lagos to Jebba rail line, is to refund N640 million while Costain West Africa Ltd, executing Jebba to Kano rail line is to refund N608 million.

Geo Group Asano, executing signalling and communications upgrade is to refund N368 million to government coffers.

Eser West Africa handling the Port Harcourt-Markurdi rail line is expected to return N339 million.

CCEGG in charge of the Markurdi-Kano rail line would cough out N353 million, while Routing Nigeria Ltd would refund N221 million.

Also at the hearing yesterday, Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi who made a brief appearance told the lawmakers that the Ministry would conduct a forensic audit of the railway sector and all agencies under it, to ascertain if due process was  carried out in all its previous operations.

He said: “I have written to Mr. President to permit the audit.”

The minister however told the Committee that since he was not the minister at the time the contracts were awarded, it may be difficult for him to answer questions pertaining to them.

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