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Reps minority caucus tags $1.5bn budget for rehabilitation of P’Harcourt refinery as a huge scam

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The minority caucus in the House of Representatives has rejected the approved $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery, alleging that the figure was outrageous and heavily inflated.

The caucus maintained that a critical cost analysis that was carried out indicated “a huge scam and a ploy by unscrupulous elements to hide under the guise of rehabilitation of the refinery to siphon public funds.”

It argued that the project can be transparently executed at an amount, far less than the approved cost and demanded it to be immediately reviewed.

In a statement by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP Delta), the lawmakers noted that whereas the caucus supports genuine efforts to bridge the energy gap in the country, such efforts should not be used as a ploy by corrupt individuals to fleece the nation.

The caucus said: “This over-bloated $1.5 billion cost has, again, brought to the fore the prevailing unpatriotic proclivity of treasury looting and criminal diversion of public funds through inflated contracts by officials of government for their selfish interests.

“It is completely unexplainable that the sum of $1.5 billion, belonging to Nigerians, is to be funnelled towards the rehabilitation of a non-profitable refinery, which has already been slated to be handed over to private hands. As lawmakers, we firmly reject this attempt to use the refineries to further defraud our nation.

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“In that regard, our caucus demands an immediate review of the project on a transparent and competitive cost template, while the billions of naira that would be recovered from the surplus, should be directed towards other areas of our national energy need.

“Furthermore, the Minority Caucus calls for immediate decisive steps towards providing required incentives to private organisations, which have shown manifest interest in establishing refineries in our country, as a sure step to meet our national energy need.”

The lawmakers urged the Federal Executive not to release any funds related to the inflated rehabilitation costs until after the review.

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