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Senate Endorse Revocation Of Sale Of Transcorp Hilton & Sack Of BPE Boss

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The Senate has adopted the report of a committee it set up to probe the Bureau of Public Enterprises and its activities. It has also approved the sack of the current boss of the BPE, Bolanle Onagoruwa.

While adopting the recommendations of the committee, part of which also asked that the sale of Daily Times should be revoked, the upper legislative chamber agreed to the recommendation for the immediate removal of Ms. Onagoruwa for gross incompetence in the management of the Bureau.

She was also accused of illegally selling five per cent of the federal government residual shares in Eleme Petrochemicals Company amongst other transactions, an act which the senate described as fraudulent.

For the recommendation for the revocation of the sale of Daily Times, the Senate pegged their argument on a court judgment in suit (1) FHC/L/CP/1328/2009, (2) FHC/L/CP/244/10, (3) FHC/L/CP/130/2010.

The Senate, which asked the buyers of Nicon Insurance to refund N900 million paid by BPE in February 2007 as contribution for recapitalization to the Federal government with interest, also asked that the former Director General of BPE, Dr. Julius Bala, be investigated by the anti-corruption agencies for giving approval to Folio Communication Limited for the illegal sale of assets of Daily Times Nigeria PLC.

The lawmakers, who adopted all the recommendations of the report of the committee immediately they emerged from a closed door meeting where the report was discussed, also adopted the recommendation for the revocation of the sale of Transcorp Hilton since the owners did not keep to the terms of agreement.

They also endorsed the recommendation that past Director-Generals of the parastatal, including Malam Nasir el-Rufai, be reprimanded for going against the prescriptions of the Act.

Part of the recommendation read that: "the sales of assets of Daily Times Nigeria Plc by Folio Communications Limited and its directors should be investigated by anti-graft agencies and the sold assets recovered.

"...The NCP should rescind the sale of Transcorp Hilton for failure of the core investor to deliver on the following fundamental provisions of the Share Purchase Agreement/Post Acquisition Plans:

  •Construction of a shopping mall within the hotel grounds.

•Construction of short/long stay serviced apartments on the available land within the hotel premises to cater for corporate and similar clients whose needs may not be met by the typical hotel service structure.

•Construction of state of the art office complex for short stay guests who may have need for office infrastructure outside their immediate offices.

•Development of an amusement emporium to add to the hospitality profile of the hotel."

While the Senate President, David Mark supported his colleagues, he however reminded everyone that the Senate can only recommend actions but cannot implement the recommendations as this is the duty of the executive arm of government.

"I hope those who have been insinuating that the Senate has been trying to avoid discussing the report now know what we can do, nobody forced us to carry out investigation, we did it on our own and nobody made efforts to stampede us," he said.