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National Tribune

Flagging The Conscience Of Truth

Obasanjo Denies Authorizing Controversial $6 Billion Mambilla Hydropower Project Contract

ByWeb Manager

Sep 4, 2023

Abuja, Nigeria – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has responded to the contentious $6 billion contract awarded to Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd for the Mambilla Hydropower Project in 2003 by former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye. Obasanjo denied authorizing Agunloye to commit Nigeria to the contract and challenged the former minister to clarify the source of his authority to award such a contract.

In an interview with The Cable, Obasanjo clarified the limitations on ministerial powers during his presidency, stating, “When I was president, no minister had the power to approve more than N25 million without express presidential consent.” He emphasized that Agunloye could not have committed his government to a $6 billion project without his approval.

Obasanjo expressed his readiness to testify if a commission of inquiry is established to investigate the matter, asserting that all records pertaining to the contract were available and that he had never approved it.

He recounted his surprise when Agunloye presented his memo to the Federal Executive Council in May 2003, as he had already advised the minister to abandon the idea, expressing alternative plans for restructuring and financing the power sector. He stated, “I find it surprising that Agunloye is now claiming he acted on behalf of Nigeria. If I knew he issued such a letter to Sunrise, I would have sacked him as minister during my second term.”

Obasanjo also mentioned that Leno Adesanya, the promoter of Sunrise Power, had left Nigeria during his presidency, and he had informed Adesanya that he would have been jailed if still in the country due to certain issues known to him.

Sunrise Power initiated arbitration against Nigeria on October 10, 2017, citing a “breach of contract” related to the agreement for constructing the 3,050MW Mambilla Hydropower Plant in Taraba State. The ongoing dispute has significant financial implications and legal intricacies that continue to be closely scrutinized.

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