Reps may issue arrest warrant on 14 railway contractors

House of Representatives

House of Representatives

For allegedly ignoring its summonses, the House of Representatives has threatened to issue a warrant of arrest on chief executives of 14 firms that handled multi-billion naira rail projects from 2010-2014.

Chairman, House Adhoc Committee on Transport and Railway, Johnson Agbonayinma, who issued the threat yesterday while addressing reporters in Abuja, said the chamber was left with the option after several refusals by the contractors to brief the lawmakers on the level of work.

He named Costain West Africa Plc in connection with the N22. 2 billion contract for the rehabilitation of Jebba-Kano narrow gauge line as well as Ansoldo – A3&O Limited, A3 & O wireless Limited, Gear Holdings, Ansaldo South Africa in connection with the N10 billion project to upgrade the signalling and telecommunications system in the narrow gauge line.

Others include ESER Contracting and Industry Company (INC), ESER West Africa Limited, ESER Nigeria Contracting Company Limited in relation with the N19 billion contract for the rehabilitation of Port Harcourt-Makurdi narrow gauge line.

Agbonayinma, who said his panel would soon beam its searchlight on the management of SURE-P, remarked that it behooves the management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to compel heads of the aforementioned outfits to subject themselves to the probe in the interest of the country.

He noted that the resolve to issue the warrant was in line with Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), adding that the panel made efforts to reach the firms through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) without success.

Agbonayinma disclosed that based on submissions so far made to his committee, the panel would compel some of the firms that handled the contracts to make refund for failing to live up to their contractual terms.

“The railway contract probe is not primarily designed to rubbish anybody, but to unearth how every kobo was spent. This investigation is not a witch-hunt of anybody, but to let Nigerians know how their taxes are spent. We will adhere to fair hearing, but anyone found wanting will be exposed, “ he stated.

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