Don’t concession Ajaokuta steel company, Reps insist

THE House of Representatives on Thursday insisted that proposed concession of Ajaokuta steel company must be stopped at all cost.

The House also urged the Federal Government to declare the steel sector as a major sector of the economy and urged the Senate to concur on the resolution.

To this end, the House further expanded the mandate of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Ajaokuta Steel Complex to include the urgent consideration of the possibility of a Bill for an Act to provide for the completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company and prohibit the concessioning thereof prior to its completion.

The House equally mandated “the Ad-Hoc Committee on Ajaokuta Steel Complex to further inquire into why Mr Kayode Fayemi engaged a globally discredited firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in auditing Ajaokuta Steel Complex, without due process inspite of the fact that the firm is neck deep in promoting corruption and has been so indicted and punished in many jurisdictions”.

The House also mandated “the Ad-hoc Committee to inquire into the nature of the conflict of interest that may have arisen on account of Mr Kayode Fayemi appointing a firm, Greenwich Trust Ltd headed by the wife of his political mentor to serve as Transaction Adviser for Ajaokuta, without due process”.

The House resolution followed a motion sponsored by Hon Ahmed Yerima and 24 others entitled, “urgent need to investigate the circumstances under which the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel engaged the globally discredited PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to Audit Ajaokuta Steel Complex for purposes of concessioning”.

The motion read in part: “Aware that the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi recently announced, and it was widely published, that Ajaokuta Steel Company will be concessioned after an ongoing audit.

“Further aware that the audit of Ajaokuta Steel Company is being undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers – a globally discredited firm having been sanctioned in India, with a 2 years audit ban for infractions of over $1 billion USD; sanctioned in Brazil for which it paid $50million USD as fine; Fined in the United Kingdom for £5.1m, the largest ever sanction imposed by the UK Regulator; Paid $225 million USD and $25 million USD respectively as fines to TYCO shareholders in US and Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi, where it was implicated for money laundering for Iran, Sudan, and Myanmar, blacklisted for roles in terrorism and human rights abuses; among other infractions and irregularities in their operations, which has left its reputation in tatters;

“Concerned by the allegation that PricewaterhouseCoopers was informally engaged by Global Steel to assist and advise them on how to recover Ajaokuta Steel Company and National Iron Ore Company, (NIOMCO) Itakpe from the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2012 at the onset of negotiations

“Worried by the apparent actions of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development in engaging a company whose antecedents may suggest that they are being engaged to audit and prepare reports which may skew the outcome thereof in a preconceived manner in favour of parties which the Minister may have lined up or which may represent the interests of their former clients (GINL)

“Also concerned that the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission both mandated by law under the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment, etc) Act, 2005 and the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act 2004, respectively has not been involved or engaged in the audit and concessioning process adopted by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development

“Outraged that the Hon Minister of Mines and Steel, Kayode Fayemi, also appointed as Ajaokuta transaction adviser, Greenwich Trust Ltd, headed by the wife of his political mentor, without the input of BPE and ICRC, and turned around to discard other options suggested by the company other than concessioning.

“Disturbed by the insistence and presumptive posture of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Hon Kayode Fayemi, to concession Ajaokuta Steel Company to an apparently pre-determined Company, because of his claim that reputable companies have lined up as concessionaires, despite the failure of two previous concession attempts in 2003 to SOLGAS Energy of USA and in 2004 to Global Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd (GINL), an Indian Company.

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“Alarmed that the Hon Minister, Mines and Steel claimed that government cannot spend a kobo more on Ajaokuta Steel Complex when he is already spending N2 billion for the concessioning process and in the context of a situation where Nigeria spends over $3.5 billion USD on the importation of steel related products annually

“Also Worried that almost two years since NIOMCO, Itakpe was again handed over to Global Steel in the so-called modified concession agreement for a 7-year period with an option of a further 10 years, the plant which is integrated with Ajaokuta steel complex has remained moribund which signposts the likely failure of yet another Concession,” the lawmaker stated.

Most of the lawmakers in their contribution insisted that planned concession of Ajaokuta steel company must be stopped, while the federal government was advised to ensure that steel sector of the country generates revenue for the betterment of the country.

The motion scaled through when the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara put the motion to a voice vote.

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