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I did not accuse Obasanjo, Atiku of killing BPE -Chigbue

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Mrs. Irene Chigbue
Former Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprise, Mrs. Irene Chigbue has denied blaming the failure of BPE on the political logjam between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Vice, Atiku Abubakar

Chigbue in a press statement said the statement credited to her at the Senate Adhoc Committee hearing on the activities of BPE is false.

Newspaper reports said the former BPE DG told the Senate Committee that the rift between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his vice, Atiku Abubakar, frustrated the privatisation exercise, especially the sale of Aluminum Smelting Company of Nigeria, ALSCON.

According to her “My attention has been drawn to several misrepresentations in the media of my testimony before the just concluded public hearing by the Ad-hoc Committee of the Senate on the activities of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) from 1999 to date.”

“As the fifth Director General of BPE who held sway between 2005 and 2009, I had the privilege of privatising over 90 enterprises in over 110 transactions with gross proceeds of about N200 billion. Sectoral Reforms in all the infrastructure sectors were also undertaken and sector policies, bills were drafted for the Ports, Railways, Aviation, Postal, Minerals, Oil/Gas and Power Sectors. A draft bill for Anti-Trust and Competition was also finalised. Practical steps were taken to implement the Electric Power Reform Act by setting up of NERC, NELMCO and unbundling and corporatization of NEPA as PHCN.”

“At no time during my presentation and testimony before the Senate ad-hoc Committee last Saturday did I state that due process was not followed in any of the enterprises privatized under my watch. What I did state was that since the core investor of Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) had failed to undertake the dredging of Imo River channel, then a breach of the term of sale has taken place.”

“On privatisation proceeds, I did not concede that the BPE had breached the provisions of the law as I explained that BPE’s construction of the relevant provisions of the Act since 1999 was that the proceeds refer to net proceeds. I also stated that the proceeds were kept in the banks funding the transactions until all necessary deductions for payment of all liabilities before transfer to CBN Accounts. I mentioned that in some instances, bidders were refunded their payments as in Refineries and Nigeria Unity Line as well as payments for gratuities, pensions and salary arrears of workers.”

“On the matter of writing to both President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar, I did not state that I was ordered by the former to ignore the latter. I explained that before my appointment, some memoranda were sent to the President. Memoranda sent to the Vice President were also copied the President. From early 2007, there was a vacuum and memoranda were sent to Mr. President until the then Honourable Minister of Finance assumed the position of Acting Chairman of NCP in accordance with the law.”