House Summons BPE Boss Over NITEL/MTEL Sale

.Probes pipeline surveillance contract awards SAN FRANCISCO, December 17, 2013, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives Tuesday summoned the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Benjamin Dikki, over the refusal of BPE to comply with the House resolution to stop the planned liquidation of the Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTEL). The summon was as a result of a motion sponsored by Hon. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau (PDP, Zamfara) on the 'need to stop liquidation of NITEL/MTEL' by both agencies. It will be recalled that the House had, in a report of an investigation done by its committees on privatisation, commercialisation, ICT and finance, considered and adopted on October 3, 2013, directed theĀ  Federal Government to halt the sale of the of the two national communication companies for reasons that included security risk and undervaluation. In his lead debate, Hon. Gusau noted that 'Despite the House resolution on the matter, which was communicated to the NCP and BPE, these agencies became defiant and initiated the process of liquidation, which is almost concluded.'' He maintained that 'The information credited to BPE on (the) appointment of a liquidator for NITEL/MTEL and the continuation of the transaction with guided liquidation contrary to the House resolution,' as he urged the House to stop the ongoing liquidation. Gusau expressed worry that the non-compliance with the House directive in the resolution to stop the liquidation of NITEL/MTEL in public interest was a bad signal thereby urging the BPE to stop any further transaction. The House also mandated its committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream and Upstream) to investigate the entire pipeline surveillance contracts of OML 26/30, which was awarded to Tezino Nig. Ltd, and make appropriate recommendations to the House within one month. This mandate followed a motion raised by Deputy House Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, on the 'need to investigate the alleged fraudulent award of pipeline surveillance contract of OML 26/30' on Tuesday, The pipeline surveillance contract of OML 26/30, which was awarded to Tezino Nig. Ltd, was for the surveillance and protection of oil pipelines in OML 26/30 that are situated at Isoko in Delta State, and runs into millions of Naira. In his lead debate on the motion, OgorĀ  noted the desirability of the Federal Government in awarding contracts for the surveillance and protection of the nation's oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region and other parts of the country. He maintained that 'This laudable initiative of the Federal Government, through its agency, the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), is intended to ensure that while oil pipelines are protected, government obtains value for the huge amount of money being spent on the surveillance contract.' He however lamented that the said oil pipeline surveillance contract awarded in the case of OML 26/30 has become a conduit pipe through which millions of Naira of tax payers' money is being siphoned for work not done. 'The beneficiary company may have acted in connivance with officials of the NPDC to perpetrate this heinous act against the state,' he alleged. By Saint Mugaga, Abuja