Former chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Dr Mohammed Haliru Bello, has admitted to signing documents in the ongoing contract scam being investigated in the sector.
According to Vanguard, he revealed this before a House of Representatives adhoc committee on Tuesday, February 2.He however stated that he only signed agreements and not contract papers. His tenure ran from 2009 to 2011.
Speaking on the alleged contract scam, Bello said the contracts were in fact awarded by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), and not by him or his board.
As he responded to questions from the House of Representatives’ committee, Bello made reference to section 22 of the procurement act which exempted the board of the NRC from contract matters.
Bello added that his board was only involved in oversight functions of contracts as approved by the FEC, which led him to sign agreements but not contracts.
The 70-year-old told the adhoc committee that he does not recall signing any contracts.
He said: “That would have been against the law, I signed agreements not contracts, I cannot recall all the contracts I signed, I’m 70 years old. The decision making was in the hand of the tenders board.”
The former chairman also added that he instructed the sale of scrap items in the railway premises but does not know if the =scraps were sold at the end of the day.
In a related development Mr. Seyi Sijuwade, the managing director of the NRC, has denied having any connections with ESR Nigeria limited. The company is allegedly owned by a relative of his.
At the hearing, Sijuwade told the committee that he knows the engineering firm but is not in any way linked to its owners or management.
Vanguard reported Sijuwade to have said: “I know them very well, they are my contractors, they are handling Port Harcourt-Kaduna line…
“’It is 85 percent completed, it is a well funded project, and if we are able to get funding, it should be completed in a matter of three months. On the issue of any director or CAC, I don’t know anything about it.
“I am unaware of any of my relatives being a director of Eser.”
This is one of the many revelations in Nigeria, as the current administration under President Muhammadu Buhari and the anti-graft agencies increase efforts towards combating crime and corruption, as well as bringing past looters to book.